Coppin catches up with UMES

January 27, 1995|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Sun Staff Writer

Coppin State's home winning streak is safe, but only after the Eagles sweated out their closest call since they began their dominant run at the Coppin Center. The Eagles started poorly against UMES last night, then spent more than 33 minutes catching the Hawks. And they needed a heroic final three minutes from senior guard Sidney Goodman to escape defeat.

With UMES collapsing around forward Stephen Stewart -- who had scored his game-high 19 points -- Goodman hit four consecutive shots down the stretch to lift Coppin State to a hard-earned, 58-54 victory before 1,528.

"We played harder. They're a better team," UMES coach Jeff Menday said. "They have guards who can stick it [shots] down the stretch, and we don't. We have guards who play hard. They have a catalyst who stuck it when he had to."

The Eagles (9-8, 6-1) remained in first place in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, won their sixth straight, tasted a winning record for the first time this season and won their 26th straight home game, the second-longest streak in the nation.

They have Goodman (17 points) primarily to thank for it. With Coppin State trailing, 54-50, Goodman drove the lane for a layup to cut the lead to 54-52 with 2:25 left. The Eagles then forced a turnover, which Goodman followed by making the shot of the game -- a 10-foot, baseline jumper with a hand in his face -- that tied the score at 54 with 1:30 to go.

After Stewart grabbed his 11th and final rebound of the game and called a timeout with 1:09 left, Goodman pulled up and hit a 15-footer to give the Eagles a 56-54 lead. Goodman then secured the victory by making a layup with 11 seconds left.

UMES (7-12, 3-6) did not score for the final 2:52.

The Eagles, who held UMES to 21 points in the second half, forced 10 of the Hawks' 19 turnovers after the break, when they allowed UMES only seven baskets on 25 attempts.

"We've been kind of flat in the beginning of all our games. We've yet to leave a 40-minute game out on the floor," Goodman said. "Our guard play had to step up. In the past, teams might have been afraid when they heard Coppin was coming to the gym. Now, teams just come at us."

UMES came after the Eagles with terrific, man-to-man defense. The Hawks' Andre Miller bothered Coppin State guard Keith Carmichael (three points) all night, limiting him to only six shots. UMES held the Eagles to 9-for-27 shooting in the first half.

Only the steady, inside play of Stewart kept the Eagles from falling dangerously behind. Coppin State trailed 33-22 at halftime, after playing a sloppy first half (10 turnovers) and shooting poorly (33 percent) before the break.

But the Eagles wasted no time regrouping in the second half. They scored the first eight points of the half -- four by Goodman -- to cut the UMES lead to 33-30, fell behind by six, then cut the margin to 38-37 with 13:43 left. Over the next four minutes, the Eagles blew six chances to take the lead.

Two free throws by Stewart finally put Coppin State on top for the first time, 43-42 with 6:37 left. The Hawks, held to seven points in the first 11 minutes of the half, rebounded to take a 54-50 lead on a 15-footer by Terrell Harris with 2:52 left.

"I give Sidney credit for stepping up. That's what a senior needs to do," Coppin State coach Fang Mitchell said. "They're a tough bunch. They're also Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. We don't know who's showing up."

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