Coppin's zone defense sinks Charleston, 60-58 Eagles overcome 9-0 deficit

December 20, 1992|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Staff Writer

Coppin State broadened its resume last night, as the Eagles' used a tight zone defense and big contributions from junior center Coleman Scott and freshman swingman Kyle Locke to defeat the College of Charleston, 60-58.

The Cougars from South Carolina executed their motion offense perfectly in the first four minutes at the Coppin Center, taking a 9-0 lead. Coach Fang Mitchell ditched a man-to-man defense, XTC and Charleston had great difficulty with the Eagles' 2-3 zone and full-court pressure.

Scott, a 1989 graduate of Oakland Mills High who spent a year at George Washington and a semester at Champlain (Vt.) College, clogged the lane at the defensive end and scored the biggest basket of the game, as his foul-line jumper with 1:14 remaining extended the Coppin State lead to 55-52. He didn't come out in the second half and finished with eight points, a game-high nine rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot.

Locke, who led Roman Catholic to the Philadelphia Catholic League title last winter, had only one basket in the Eagles' first four games, albeit a crucial three-pointer that helped them win at Towson State. He broke loose for 14 points, hitting five of seven field-goal attempts, and the last of his three three-pointers put Coppin State up 51-47 with 6:20 left.

Coppin State (2-3) also got production from the usual places, as sophomore Stephen Stewart missed one of his six shots en route to a team-high 17 points and eight rebounds. Junior Tariq Saunders, the Eagles' other forward, had 11 points and six rebounds, and sophomore guard Sidney Goodman had 10 points, two assists and three steals.

"That's classified as a team victory," Mitchell said. "This game was very good for our kids. We had some problems early !B recognizing where everyone was in their [Charleson's]offense, but we were disciplined in the zone and we had to play smart. Charleston is a well-coached, quality program."

The NAIA champion in 1983, Charleston (2-1) is in its first year in the Trans-America Conference and second in the NCAA. The Cougars lost four starters from a team that beat Coppin State by 13 last season, but they came out strong again last night.

Senior center Chris Jackson burned Coppin State early, but he was limited to six shots and got one basket in the last 17 minutes, finishing with with 12 points and two rebounds. Sophomore point guard Marion Busby had a game-high 20 points, and 17 came in the final nine minutes, when he personally kept the Cougars alive.

A free throw by Stewart, a three-point play by Locke and two more free throws by Saunders broke a tie at 38 and put the Eagles on top 44-38 with 10:00 left. Charleston created the fourth tie of the second half -- there were eight lead changes in the game -- on a pair of Ken Ward free throws that made it 51-51 with 2:28 left.

Goodman's two free throws with 2:07 left put Coppin State on top for good. Following Scott's foul-line jumper on an assist by Keith Carmichael, Stewart clinched the victory with four throws. Busby's two three-pointers in the last two seconds kept it close.

Locke came of the bench to get things going in the first half, leading a 9-2 Eagles' run that trimmed a 16-8 deficit to 18-17. From that point on, the teams were never separated by more than six points.

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