Coppin floors Morgan again Eagles run first 11 on way to 88-74 win

February 09, 1993|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,Staff Writer

Long after the near-capacity crowd had filed out of Hill Fieldhouse last night following Coppin State's 88-74 win over Morgan State, Malik White stood on the side with a single thought on his mind.

"I just hope," said White, Morgan State's 6-foot-10 center. "I just hope we get to play them one more time in the [Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference] tournament. Just one more time."

For the second time in two weeks, Coppin State and Morgan State met in a matchup of the top two teams in the MEAC, and for the second time Coppin won with relative ease. The Eagles led by 25 at the half and by as many as 26 in the second half on the way to their 11th win in the past 12 games. Coppin improved to 13-7 overall, and 10-0 in the MEAC.

"This team just wants to win," said Coppin coach Fang Mitchell. "They understood early that this wasn't going to be a picnic unless they made it a picnic."

It was more of a feast for Coppin, which jumped to an 11-0 lead in the early minutes and maintained a 48-23 lead at the half. The worst-shooting team in the MEAC, with a field-goal percentage of 39.1 percent coming in, Coppin shot an uncharacteristic 51 percent -- including eight of 16 three-pointers.

OC The hot shooting early ruined an evening of payback for Morgan,

which was beaten at Coppin, 87-61, on Jan. 28. Morgan, 4-0 at home going into last night and a team looking to close ground in the league behind Coppin, dropped to 7-12 and 7-3 in the MEAC.

"This is just disappointing because we're a better team than what we've played the last two times against Coppin," said Morgan State coach Michael Holmes. "It makes it look like we're not in the same boat with them."

After the opening minutes, Morgan couldn't have considered itself in the same ocean. The Bears missed their first five shots, and were just two of 14 from the field in the opening minutes.

Morgan had been on a roll at home, winning its four games at Hill Fieldhouse by an average of 14 points. But the Bears -- with three players shaking off the flu -- were never able to get their offense in sync last night, and knew they were in trouble when some fans at the highly anticipated game began walking out just 11 minutes into the game with Coppin leading by 20 points.

"I thought it was good for us to take the fans out of it early," Mitchell said. "Our guys just came out aggressive and put forth the effort."

Coppin forward Stephen Stewart (14 points, nine rebounds) set the tone early, hitting a three-pointer on his team's first possession that helped the Eagles to an 11-0 run. By halftime, Morgan had shot just 25 percent from the field (eight of 31) and trailed 48-23.

"Once they got the lead, it was hard, real hard to try to catch them," said Holmes, whose team shot 33 percent in the second half of the Jan. 28 loss. "We just had no desire, no drive. It was disappointing."

By midway through the second half Coppin had its biggest lead of the night, 58-32, after a layup and free throw by guard Sidney Goodman with a little more than 11 minutes left.

Morgan was able to get its offense untracked late, and wound up with 51 second-half points against a team that allows just 66 a game. But the game was not nearly as close as the final score might indicate.

Coppin forward Tariq Saunders had 20 points to lead all scorers. The team that leads the MEAC in three-point field goals, Coppin hit eight of 16 from beyond the arc.

Morgan guard Chico Langston, who was playing with the flu, scored 18 points (five of six three-pointers) and had 10 assists. Another flu-weakened Bear, Obadiah Johnson, also scored 18.

The Eagles will look to maintain their perfect record in the MEAC tomorrow night when they play host to Delaware State, before embarking on a two-game road trip to Florida A&M and Bethune-Cookman. Morgan begins a three-game road trip on Thursday at Florida A&M, a journey that may determine whether the Bears are indeed one of the MEAC's top teams.

"The road is important and it's just a matter of us being physically ready to play," Holmes said. "We're a better team than we've shown. I think we can beat Coppin."

And Holmes and his players are hoping that opportunity will come in the final of the MEAC tournament.

MEAC standings

.. .. .. .. .. Conf. .. Overall

...... ...... W... L... W... L... Pct.

Coppin St. .... 10... 0.. 13... 7... .650

Morgan St. ..... 7... 3... 7.. 12... .368

........ 7... 4.. 12... 9... .571

N. Caro A&T .... 6... 5.. 11.. 10... .524

Md.-E. Shore.... 5... 7... 9.. 12... .429

Delaware St. ... 4... 6... 8.. 11... .421

Howard U. ...... 4... 6... 7.. 13... .350

Florida A&M .... 4... 6... 4.. 15... .211

Beth.-Cook. .... 0.. 10... 1.. 19... .050

Yesterday's results

Coppin State 88, Morgan State 74

N. Carolina A&T 81, UMES 65

S. Carolina St. 87, Delaware St. 59

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