Coppin State guard Reggie Isaac has fouled out just once in his career and rarely gets into foul trouble. So one could imagine his edginess after he picked up two midway through the first half of Saturday's game against Howard and became a spectator on the Eagles' bench.
"I can count on one hand how many times I've been in foul trouble," said Isaac, who scored eight points in the first half. "It was real hard watching because Larry [Stewart] had a lot of pressure on him."
It didn't take the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference's leading scorer (24.8 ppg) long to get untracked in the second half. He scored nine during a 14-0 run in the opening minutes that broke open a close game and helped the Eagles (12-8, 8-1) to a 99-76 win.
"The second half, I had to come out and score," said Isaac, who had 24 points in the half and hit 15 of 21 field-goal tries. He finished with 32 points.
The win was Coppin's eighth in a row and 21st straight at the Coppin Center. The Eagles shot 58.3 percent for the game, with Stewart leading the way with 36 points (10 of 15 from the field).
"The whole team came out with intensity in the second half," Coppin coach Fang Mitchell said. "That was the big difference."
Four of the Eagles' final six games are on the road, where they are 4-8 for the season.
Trivia: Which team does not belong -- Nevada-Las Vegas, Arkansas, Ohio State or Towson State?
No. 3 Ohio State is the only team among the four that is not undefeated in conference play. Towson (13-6, 8-0) kept its spot in the group -- which includes nine teams -- with Saturday's 82-65 East Coast Conference victory at Rider.
The win was Towson's eighth straight, its 13th straight over an ECC opponent and its first victory at Rider since 1984. The Broncs' home court was also the site of coach Terry Truax's 100th career loss two years ago.
"I never thought about not winning there for so long, but it was a pivotal game because of where we stand," said Truax, whose Tigers maintained a 1 1/2 -game lead over Hofstra. "I'm encouraged in that our record is good, and I feel our team is still improving."
Guard Devin Boyd, the ECC Player of the Week, led the Tigers with 23 points (freshman forward Matt Campbell was named ECC Rookie of the Week). But reserve guard Lewis Waller led a second-half run when Towson pulled away. The game was tied at 45 at the half, after which Waller scored 11 of his 15. Rider was limited to four field goals in the second half, after hitting 18 of 29 (62 percent) in the first 20 minutes.
"Our success has come from our defense, and I think the game showed it," Truax said. "We get a lot of our good shots from the defense."
The Tigers will have non-conference games against Loyola (tonight) and American (Wednesday) before returning to conference play Saturday at home against Central Connecticut. A win would tie the Tigers for the best start in the ECC, established by former league member Bucknell, which started 9-0 in 1983-84.
It was a tough weekend for the rest of the local teams.
UMBC (2-18, 1-6) was beaten by second-place Hofstra, 71-52, in an ECC game. Brian Watkins scored 11 for the Retrievers, who lost their third straight. None of the UMBC guards scored in double figures or had more than two assists.
In Wilmington, N.C., Navy coach Pete Herrmann was ejected with 2 minutes, 45 seconds left in the 87-76 loss to North Carolina-Wilmington. Herrmann's departure came after two technicals were called on the Navy bench. The Midshipmen (6-14, 2-6 in the Colonial Athletic Association) have lost two straight and face a difficult final stretch with last week's loss of John Haase, who is out indefinitely with a sprained left ankle.
Mount St. Mary's lost its third straight Northeast Conference game, falling to St. Francis, N.Y., 88-77. The Mountaineers (6-13, 4-5) were within one with just under 15 minutes to play, but were outscored, 16-5, over the next five minutes and never got closer than five. Scott Murphy's 21 points led the Mountaineers.
Maryland Eastern Shore (4-15, 2-7 MEAC) lost at second-place South Carolina State, 94-86.
Loyola (8-11, 2-7 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference), Morgan State (4-16, 4-5 MEAC) and Maryland (12-8, 2-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) were idle Saturday.
Milestones: Loyola center George Sereikas blocked a school-record seven shots in the Greyhounds' loss at St. Peter's on Friday. The previous school record was four -- and Sereikas had five at halftime.
Athlete of the Week: Towson's Boyd, who averaged 28.3 points in three games, and Coppin State's Stewart, who averaged 29.1 points and 17 rebounds in two games.
Game of the Week: Loyola at Towson State tonight. The teams met in December in the final of the Beltway Classic, with Towson holding off Loyola, 62-60.