Coppin writes an end to Morgan's home run Bears now 5-1 at Hill as Eagles romp, 81-56

February 02, 1997|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,SUN STAFF

During an 8 a.m. shootaround at Hill Field House yesterday, Morgan State freshman Doug Qualls shattered a backboard on a thunderous dunk.

Coach Chris Fuller thought it might work to the Bears' advantage -- an indication, perhaps, Morgan would be aggressive against Coppin State last night.

"I'll use anything I can," Fuller said, chuckling. "My coaches and I have worn the same clothes for every game since the home streak began."

Alas, they can change them now. Before 1,922 at Hill, Coppin (10-7) broke open a close game in the second half and routed Morgan, 81-56. It was the sixth straight win for Coppin and Morgan's first loss at home after five victories.

Coppin remained atop the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference with 7-2 record, tied with South Carolina State, which beat Florida A&M.

The score was tied at 43 with 13: 24 left, but Coppin scored 22 of the next 24 points and 38 of the final 51.

Coppin was obliged to play without No. 2 scorer (15.4) Reggie Welch, who broke a bone in his left (non-shooting) hand in Thursday's win at Howard and will miss at least three games. He had 41 points in the previous two games.

Up stepped Kareem Lewis, he of the 8.0 scoring average. He poured in 17, all in the first half, and Terquin Mott had a game-high 20. Rasheed Sparks led Morgan with 13.

"We're starting to play very good, but I was concerned about our intensity with Reggie out," Coppin coach Fang Mitchell said. "We tried to tell ourselves we wouldn't miss Reggie, but we really did."

Morgan has had difficulty with Coppin for years. Coppin won both meetings last season and has captured the past five since being upset by the Bears in the 1994 MEAC tournament. The four-time defending conference-champion Eagles have taken 16 of the past 17 encounters with Morgan.

"It's a great rivalry," Fuller said. "A natural. Cross-town. Good crowds. Beating Coppin is important for us because we need to know we can beat the better teams, especially on the road. It's a barometer. We're slowly improving."

Morgan's 5-12 record breaks down in curious fashion. The Bears are 5-1 at Hill and 0-11 on the road. As is its custom, Morgan played nine of its first 10 on the road, against the likes of Georgetown, UCLA, Kansas, Kansas State and Georgia Tech, the idea being to bring in money to keep the gym open.

Trouble is, it's hard on the team. Morgan started 1-10.

"Home, sweet home," Fuller said. "We're not playing poorly on the road, just not smart. These guys don't believe in themselves yet.

"The problem is from the neck up. Their legs aren't going to get any better or their lungs any stronger. They're in shape. It's cerebral."

It won't be long before Morgan and Coppin meet again. After a home game Monday against Howard, the Bears will travel to Coppin on Saturday.

"We have to manage the ball better and be real smart," Fuller said. Noting Coppin led by only three at halftime, he added: "The problem is we don't put two halves together. It's a common lament by coaches, but it's happening to us. We need to be consistent."

Morgan lost some much-needed height when 6-9 reserve center Arnold Martin continued to sit with a deep leg bruise.

"Arnold was making great progress the past few weeks," Fuller said of the sophomore from Brandywine who is averaging 1.3 points and 2.6 rebounds in 6.1 minutes a game.

"We miss his height; it especially hurts our substitution rotation. He's about a week away from coming back."

COPPIN STATE -- Seamon 1-6 1-2 4, K.Lewis 6-11 4-5 17, Mott 7-12 6-7 20, Brockington 3-9 2-4 8, T.Lewis 4-5 0-0 9, King 1-1 0-0 2, Reavis 1-1 0-0 2, Singletary 3-3 6-6 13, Warwick 2-4 2-2 6, Pena 0-1 0-0 0, Houston 0-0 0-0 0, Watkins 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 28-54 21-26 81.

MORGAN STATE -- Watson 3-12 3-3 11, Holmes 5-9 0-0 10, Crawley 0-2 0-0 0, Byrd 4-10 0-0 9, Hutchinson 1-2 0-0 2, Herron 0-2 2-2 2, Rucker 1-4 0-0 3, Alston 1-4 0-0 2, Sparks 5-15 2-4 13, Deas 0-1 0-0 0, Demory 0-1 0-0 0, Qualls 0-0 0-0 0, Lewis 2-2 0-2 4. Totals 22-64 7-11 56.

Halftime--Coppin State, 34-31. 3-point goals--CS 4-7 (K.Lewis 1-1, Lewis 1-1, Singletary 1-1, Seamon 1-2, Brockington 0-1, Warwick 0-1); MS 5-21 (Watson 2-6, Rucker 1-3, Sparks 1-4, Byrd 1-6, Demory 0-1, Herron 0-1). Fouled out--None. Rebounds--CS 40 (K.Lewis 9); MS 34 (Watson 7). Assists--CS 7 (Singletary 4); MS 10 (Hutchinson 4). Total fouls--CS 18, MS 19. A--1,922

Pub Date: 2/02/97

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