Coppin rallies to edge UMES, 72-69 Eagles keep home streak alive at 35 games

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

It takes more than a dead-on shooter to end the nation's longest home-winning streak.

University of Maryland Eastern Shore senior forward Aaron McKinney seemed up the challenge, with his 9-for-12 three-point shooting, and game-high 34 points, but Coppin State prevailed, 72-69, last night for its 35th straight home win.

While the Eagles (5-7) extended their streak before 763 fans, they ended UMES' perfect 3-0 start to Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play.

For most of the game, McKinney had an answer to every Coppin advance.

When the Eagles pulled to within 49-48, McKinney stepped up and hit two three-pointers to give the Hawks some breathing room. That scenario was a familiar one in the second half, and the Eagles did not take a lead until Reggie Welch's three point play with 6:30 remaining in the game.

They would not trail again.

Center Terquin Mott exploded for a dunk, then caught a lob for an easy bucket to put Coppin up 65-60. But mcKinney was not done. He yet another three too get the Fighting hawks within 69-66 with 30 seconds left, and hit for three again with 10 seconds left to put the margin at 71-69.

If not for an UMES errant pass brining the ball up-court with six seconds left, McKinney might have got a shot too strike again for the tie. Instead, the Eagles iced the win with an in-bounds pass and a foul shot from Allen Watson.

Coppin's offense was erratic in the first half, especially from the perimiter.

The Eagles made only 3 of 12 three-pointers in the half, although they shoot 38 percent from that range for the year. Mott, the Eagles leading scorer and main in side presence, did hit both shots he took in the half, but Coppin could not get the ball to him with any regularity.

Even the shortest of jumpers proved difficult for the Eagles to convert, and they were down by five points nine minutes into the game. Junior forward Reggie Welch, who threw down TC career-high 31 in Coppin's last outing, missed four straight shots before staking the Eagles to a shortlived 21-20 lead with seven minutes to play in the half.

Then McKinney put on a shooting exhibition. McKinney came into the game averaging a team-leading 12 points a game, and nearly matched that total in a two-minute stretch.

He hit a three-pointer from the left wing, and struck again from the same spot the next trip down the court to put the Fighting Hawks up 26-21. A Welch trifecta stopped the bleeding for Coppin, but McKinney, who came into the game needing 50 points for 1,000 in his career, was hardly finished.

He merely picked up his dribble well beyond the three-point arc and hit all net with a rainbow from NBA range. That shot gave McKinney 17 points and four three-pointers for the half, and gave UMES its biggest lead at 33-26, which they parlayed into a four point halftime advantage.

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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