Coppin rallies to edge UMES, 72-69 Eagles' home streak at Div. I-best 35 games

January 12, 1996|By Jason LaCanfora | Jason LaCanfora,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

With nine seconds to go last night against UMES, Coppin State basketball coach Fang Mitchell had one thought:

Don't let Aaron McKinney get the ball.

McKinney scorched the Eagles for a game-high 34 points on 9-for-12 three-point shooting and hit two three-point shots in the last 30 seconds to keep UMES within range.

But Mitchell could relax.

The Hawks never had a chance to run a play for the sharp-shooting senior forward, and they threw the ball away while pushing upcourt, falling, 72-69, to the Eagles before 763 at Coppin Center.

"We're still in the feeling-out process," Mitchell said. "We need to learn to play together as a group. I think we still have a long way to go."

Coppin extended Division I's longest home winning streak to 35 games. UMES' three-game winning streak ended, and the Hawks dropped to 3-1 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

"We knew this would be like a championship game," McKinney said. "We really wanted to end their streak, but even more than that, we wanted to stay on top of the conference. We played tough, and with nine seconds left, we were still right in it. The turnover killed us."

For the Eagles (5-7), two juniors led the way. Forward Reggie Welch, who scored 31 points in his previous game, got 24 last night and pulled down 10 rebounds. Center Terquin Mott, who averages a team-high 18.0 points, added 26 points, 19 in the second half, on 11-for-13 shooting.

"Terquin just needs to learn how to stay in the game and not pick up cheap fouls," Mitchell said. "We can't afford to have him out of games. He played more in the second half, and we were able to get the ball to him and get our inside game going."

The same could not be said for Coppin's perimeter game. Its defense never slowed McKinney, and the Eagles made only four of 19 three-point tries.

"We never should have allowed him to get started," Mitchell said. "Playing defense was not one of the things we felt like doing tonight. I have to put it in their mind that they have to play better defense."

When the Eagles pulled to within 49-48 in the second half, McKinney, who needs 16 points for 1,000, hit two three-pointers to give the Hawks breathing room.

He hit an additional three to get the Hawks within 69-66 with 30 seconds left and hit one with 10 seconds left to put the margin at 71-69.

In the first half, he made three three-pointers in less than two minutes, including one from NBA range, to give the Hawks their largest lead, 33-26. McKinney finished one point off his career best, which he set against Bethune-Cookman last year.

"I was just playing with confidence," McKinney said. "I felt loose, and my shots were just falling. I was on my game. We were a couple of mistakes from breaking their streak."

UMES -- Wright 1-4 2-6 4, Christian 2-3 2-2 6, Woods 3-8 1-3 7, Grady 1-4 0-0 2, Reynolds 2-6 0-0 5, Cooks 0-0 0-0 0, McKinney 12-17 1-4 34, Ligon 0-1 0-0 0, Langhorne 0-2 2-4 2, Garrison 1-4 2-2 4, Mobley 2-5 1-2 5. Totals 24-52 11-23 69.

COPPIN ST. -- Welch 10-18 2-8 24, King 1-8 0-0 3, Mott 11-13 4-7 26, Brockington 0-6 0-0 0, Watson 2-4 4-8 8, Seamon 1-2 0-0 3, Reavis 0-0 0-0 0, Locke 1-6 2-4 4, Lewis 0-1 0-0 0, Pena 2-2 0-0 4. Totals 28-60 12-27 72.

Halftime--UMES 39-35. 3-point goals--UMES 10-19 (McKinney 9-12, Reynolds 1-4, Grady 0-2, Ligon 0-1); CS 4-19 (Welch 2-5, King 1-6, Seamon 1-1, Locke 0-3, Brockington 0-2, Watson 0-1, Lewis 0-1). Fouled out--None. Rebounds--UMES 37 (Christian 7); CS 36 (Welch 10). Assists--UMES 5 (Grady 2); CS 15 (Watson 4). Total fouls--UMES 24, CS 17. A--763.

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