Coppin has another near-miss

December 20, 1993|By Andy Clendennen | Andy Clendennen,Contributing Writer

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- For 37 minutes yesterday, Coppin State dominated the Missouri Tigers in every statistical category -- except one.

And that one, rebounds, proved costly for the Eagles, who lost, 64-63, when Lamont Frazier hit a leaning 10-footer with three seconds remaining. Coppin State (5-4) had led by as many as 15 points in the first half.

The Tigers (5-1) out-rebounded the Eagles 42-23, and scored the last 10 points of the game.

"We just didn't execute well down the stretch, the way we did throughout the game," Coppin State coach Fang Mitchell said. "We created problems for us by not getting the rebounds we needed, and when the team is desperate. That's when the problems start."

This was not the first time Coppin has gone down to the final seconds against a well-regarded Division I team. The Eagles beat Wichita State, 65-64, on Dec. 6 on Keith Carmichael's layup with 27 seconds remaining and lost at Virginia, 63-61, on Dec. 9 on Mike Powell's two free throws with one second left.

After yesterday's game, Mitchell was visibly dejected but remained philosophical.

"We just have to understand what it takes at the end of the game," he said. "It was a tremendous effort by our kids, and we're happy about that. But this is a tough place to win, and once we execute down the stretch, I think we'll be all right."

The defeat overshadowed a solid performance by Carmichael, who was 10-for-15 from the field, including 4-for-8 on three-point attempts.

Carmichael, who entered the game averaging 15 points, scored that many in the first 12 minutes and finished with a game-high 24.

Sidney Goodman scored 18 for the Eagles (5-4). Jevon Crudup led Missouri with 23 points and 16 rebounds.

Carmichael was held to seven points in the second half, as Missouri coach Norm Stewart turned to defensive specialist Frazier, who returned to the lineup after missing a game with a foot injury, to put the clamps on Carmichael.

"I know for a fact that they talked about him [Carmichael] at the half," Mitchell said. "They made it a point to know where he was at all times, and they were very effective in limiting his shot selection."

Missouri, which trailed 41-31 at the half, scored the first nine points of the second half, but Coppin State tightened its defense and didn't enable the Tigers to take the lead until the last three seconds.

"They kind of picked up the intensity there a little bit," Stewart said. "They were pushing our wings out and we were never really able to penetrate their defense."

Missouri trailed 63-56 with less than four minutes left, but Kelly Thames hit an inside shot that started a 6-0 run that ended with Frazier's game-winner.

The shot was set up by Melvin Booker's pass to Frazier after Thames grabbed a defensive rebound with 10 seconds left.

After Frazier's basket, the Eagles had three seconds remaining, and after a flurry of timeouts, Stephen Stewart inbounded the ball to Goodman at half-court. Goodman dribbled twice, pulled up and shot an air ball from about 35 feet.

"From the time it left his hand, I knew it was off because I was in line between him and the basket," Frazier said. "He pushed it right, and I let out a sigh of relief."

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