Sluggish Coppin rallies, but falls Brockington scores 22 of his 26 in second half

Wisconsin holds on, 71-63

December 21, 1997|By Dennis Punzel | Dennis Punzel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

MADISON, Wis. -- Coppin State coach Fang Mitchell tried to warn his players about what to expect against Wisconsin yesterday.

But his message didn't quite get through. And by the time the Eagles finally caught on, it was too late as their second-half rally fell short, 71-63.

Wisconsin (5-5) went on a 14-0 run early in the game to blast into an 18-4 lead. That proved too much for the Eagles (3-4) to overcome, despite a spectacular 22-point performance in the second half by Antoine Brockington, the nation's ninth-leading scorer (24.2 average).

"I don't think we came out ready to play right away," Mitchell said. "I tried to explain to them that it was going to be a bump-and-grind type game, but I think I should have gone to the dictionary to explain that to them in a little more detail.

"It took them a little while to make the adjustment to playing Big Ten basketball. We regrouped and played with a lot more intensity in the second half. But we dug a deep hole in the beginning and just came up short."

Wisconsin, playing without its best player -- junior forward Sam Okey, who missed his third consecutive game because of a back injury -- still managed to dominate the first half.

Coppin State was was held scoreless for more than five minutes during the Badgers' early 14-0 run. Then after the Eagles had an 11-2 run, they went through an eight-minute scoring drought as Wisconsin ran off 12 points to stretch the lead to 32-15.

Brockington spent much of the first half watching from the bench.

"I didn't like the way he was moving on the floor," Mitchell said. "So I let him observe the game a little from the sideline to get a better outlook on how it should be played. When he came back he had a good idea of how he was supposed to play and he played up to his level."

After being held scoreless for nearly 18 minutes, Brockington hit two quick baskets late in the first half. But he was just getting warmed up.

After falling behind, 38-23, Brockington single-handedly rallied the Eagles by scoring their next 15 points to trim the deficit to 46-38.

"He was just about unstoppable," said Wisconsin guard Duany Duany, who spent much of the game trying to do just that. "The first half he was passing up a lot of shots, but once he got going in the second half you just knew he was going to shoot it every time, no matter what you did to him."

While Duany couldn't stop Brockington, he helped neutralize him by scoring 14 points in the second half to finish with 20 points, matching his career high.

That was enough to keep the Eagles from getting closer than six points down the stretch.

"Duany really did a wonderful job," said Wisconsin coach Dick Bennett, who recorded his 400th career win. "He accepted the toughest defensive challenge and did everything I could expect from him."

Brockington, who finished with 26 points, hit a three-point basket with just over two minutes remaining to cut the deficit to seven, 68-61.

But he fouled out with 1: 19 remaining and the Badgers put the game away with three free throws in the closing seconds.

COPPIN STATE -- Warrick 4-16 3-6 13, Lewis 3-4 0-1 6, Pena 0-0 2-2 2, Brockington 11-24 0-0 26, Singletary 3-9 1-1 8, Hamond 0-1 0-0 0, Lewis 3-4 0-0 8, Reavis 0-0 0-0 0, Watkins 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-58 6-10 63.

WISCONSIN -- Duany 7-14 5-7 20, Daugherty 2-6 5-9 9, Coleman 1-3 1-2 3, Auriantal 2-8 4-6 10, Mason 4-8 3-4 12, Kowske 4-5 2-2 10, Kelley 0-1 3-4 3, Burkemper 0-0 0-0 0, Vershaw 1-3 2-4 4. Totals 21-48 25-38 71.

Halftime--Wisconsin 33-21. Three-point goals--Coppin St. 9-27 (Brockington 4-13, Lewis 2-3, Warrick 2-8, Singletary 1-3), Wisconsin 4-13 (Auriantal 2-4, Mason 1-3, Duany 1-5, Kelley 0-1). Fouled out--Singletary, Brockington. Rebounds--Coppin St. 30 (Warrick 7), Wisconsin 41 (Duany, Auriantal 8). Assists--Coppin St. 5 (Warrick 3), Wisconsin 14 (Auriantal 7). Total fouls--Coppin St. 25, Wisconsin 13. Technical fouls--Coppin St. bench. A--11,500.

Pub Date: 12/21/97

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