K. Lewis, Coppin rough up Howard Senior gets physical, scores 18 in 84-66 victory

Mitchell ties school record for wins

January 13, 1998|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

WASHINGTON -- Kareem Lewis finally arrived as a force inside last night against a very physical Howard University team and at long last drew praise from his Coppin State coach Fang Mitchell.

"Now that is the Kareem Lewis I've been waiting to see," said Mitchell, who has been the 6-foot-7 senior forward's toughest critic this season. "He had part of his tooth broken off tonight and was pushed around a lot, but he still wanted to come back out there and play and that's what I love."

Lewis took the ball strong to the basket several times on the way to 18 points and nine rebounds to lead Coppin to an 84-66 victory over Howard in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game.

The victory gave Coppin a 4-0 record in the conference and 6-6 overall mark and enabled Mitchell to reach a school milestone.

Howard, which has been something of a surprise this season, fell to 3-3 in the MEAC and 4-9 overall.

Mitchell tied John Bates (211) for the most coaching wins in Coppin State history and was proud to be mentioned in the same breath with Bates.

"John Bates was a great coach at Coppin," said Mitchell. "He won the NAIA national championship in 1976 and that is quite an accomplishment. Any time you can stand alongside John Bates, you're doing something."

Lewis smiled shyly when it was mentioned that his coach had been won over after 12 games.

"I hope I made him happy," said Lewis. "I was fired up more than usual tonight because he [Mitchell] said my 24 points Saturday [against Morgan] didn't come against anybody."

While Lewis emerged inside, Coppin's shooting guard Antoine Brockington had to fight off some stifling man-to-man defense by Howard's 6-6 sophomore Xavier Singletary.

Singletary decided the best way to try to stop the nation's fifth-leading scorer was to play him physical.

Singletary pushed the slender Brockington around all night, sending him stumbling once to the floor, but Brockington (24.3 average) wound up with a team-high 19 points and three assists.

Brockington was obviously frustrated when he came off the court in the second half for a rest, but Mitchell said he expected such a physical game.

"We knew from the start what we were facing against Howard," said Mitchell. "But I was happy to see us play more as a team tonight and get everybody involved in the offense."

Danny Singletary contributed 14 points, four steals and three assists last night and Fred Warrick and Troy Lewis each had nine points.

Warrick continued to stand out in his new role as sixth man, coming off the bench to hit three straight three-pointers in the first half.

Howard was led Xavier Singletary, who had 24 points and seven rebounds, but no one else scored in double figures for the Bison.

It all enabled Howard to make an exciting game of it in the first half, taking an early 10-2 lead before Coppin rallied to lead 34-27 at halftime.

But Coppin went on a 23-10 run in the early minutes of the second half to surge ahead, 56-37, with 12 minutes left.

Pub Date: 1/13/98

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