Coppin ties record with 23rd win in row

January 23, 1994|By Jerry Bembry tTC | Jerry Bembry tTC,Staff Writer

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- There might be a day when a team in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference approaches the record for consecutive wins that Coppin State tied last night, and someone may recall the impressive team that helped establish the mark.

Hopefully, when they remember, they won't recall the ugliness of the game last night.

Coppin State tied the record, winning its 23rd straight MEAC game, with a 67-57 win over Florida A & M at the Gaither Athletic Center here. In a game marred by fouls, the Eagles (10-7, 4-0 in the MEAC), were able to survive a stretch of nearly 12 minutes when they failed to score a field goal.

How ugly was it? In the second half, the Eagles hit just three field goals (all by Marcus Robinson) while attempting 37 free throws over the last 20 minutes. Coppin's previous high for field goals in a game was 35 against Maryland-Eastern Shore on Jan. 17.

Leading 44-42 at the half, the Eagles did not score their first field goal of the second half until Marcus Robinson hit a three-pointer with 10:50 left. That ended a stretch of 11:56 that Coppin went without a field goal. From the end of the first half to that point in the second half, the Eagles had missed 14 straight shots.

But when Robinson hit the team's second field goal of the second half, a three-pointer with 8:02 left, Coppin was able to increase its lead to 54-48. The Eagles did it by living on the free-throw line.

Coppin had its biggest lead of the game, 58-51, after Stephen Stewart hit one of two free throws with just under four minutes left. Florida A & M scored the next three points to pull to within 58-54 after Byron Coast hit one of two free throws with 2:45 left.

Coppin State had a slim 32-30 lead at the half despite holding Florida A & M to just one field goal over the last six minutes of the half. The Eagles didn't help their cause in the half, missing their final six shots from the field.

The Eagles had the advantage early, taking its biggest lead of the half, 12-6, after a three-pointer by Keith Carmichael just over five minutes into the game. However, Coppin was unable to score over the next 3:30, with the Rattlers going on a 10-0 run during that time to take a 16-12 lead after a jumper by center Joey McGear with 11:11 left.

Despite being bothered by Coppin's pressure defense, the Rattlers had control of the game for the next four and a half minutes and led by 25-22 after a layup by Curtis Williams with 6:27 left. But from there, Florida A & M went cold, missing its next five shots, turning the ball over four times and failing to score a field goal until a layup by Coast with 21 seconds left.

Coppin was unable to open up the game during that time. The Eagles had their biggest lead of the half, 32-27, after a dunk by Michael Thomas with 2:56 left. But Coppin missed six shots and had one turnover on their remaining seven possessions. The layup by Coast with 21 seconds left had Florida A & M within 32-30 at the half.

Each team turned the ball over 11 times in a poorly played first half. Sidney Goodman's 10 points led Coppin State, which shot 46.1 percent in the first half.

The Rattlers were fortunate to trail by just two, after shooting 36.7 percent over the first 20 minutes. Curtis Williams had eight points in the half to lead Florida A & M.

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