Coppin eases by Morgan, 87-61 Eagles defense key in 1st-place match

January 29, 1993|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,Staff Writer

They came into the game as the top two teams in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, with Coppin State taking the league's top defense against a Morgan State team that had its highest scoring offense.

It was showdown night in one of the most anticipated games between these crosstown rivals in years, but in the end it was no contest as the Eagles shot a school-record 70.6 percent in the second half on the way to an 87-61 win before an overflow crowd at the Coppin Center.

Morgan State (5-10, 5-2 MEAC), which averaged 83 points in its last four games on the strength of its fast-break offense, was never able to get its running game in gear as its five-game win streak was broken. Coppin (9-7, 6-0) won for the seventh time in its last eight games to stay in sole possession of first place.

"It's a game of tempo," said Coppin State coach Fang Mitchell, who warned his team not to get into a running game with the Bears. "I'm just real happy that we did the things we had to do. Our kids understood the game plan, and executed it in the second half very well."

By limiting Morgan to 61 points, the Eagles were able to hold the

Bears to their lowest point total of the season. The defense was LTC especially effective in the second half, limiting the Bears to 33.3 percent shooting from the field.

But it was Coppin's second-half shooting that really broke open the game. The Eagles hit seven of eight from beyond the three-point arc in the second half as they built leads as big as 26 points. Sophomore guard Sidney Goodman, who was scoreless in the first half, finished with 20 points -- and five three-pointers.

"I was off in the first half, but it didn't matter," Goodman said. "I knew it would come and the coaches told me to just keep on shooting. Once I started hitting it picked my confidence up, as well as the team."

While Goodman was taking care of the outside, sophomore forward Stephen Stewart was hurting the Bears inside. The 6-foot-5 Stewart -- playing a strong style similar to his older brother, Washington Bullets forward Larry Stewart -- scored a career-high 27 points, getting inside against a Morgan front line that includes 6-11 center Malik White, and 6-8 forward Michael Brewer.

"I feel I can do that every game," said Stewart, who scored 16 of his points in the second half. "But that's not what the team needs. This game, I felt I had to assert myself more."

That was clear in the first half after Coppin saw an early four-point lead turn into a nine-point deficit with 5:13 left in the half.

But Morgan went scoreless, and Coppin finished with a 9-0 run to end the half tied at 32.

"This will help us get prepared for the things we need to do to be successful down the road," Morgan coach Michael Holmes said. "This was a whipping. I don't think we were as ready as we could have been. Coppin did a good job."

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