Singletary marches Coppin over Howard First-half buzzer shot changes game for Eagles

March 05, 1998|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

RICHMOND, Va. -- Danny Singletary is Coppin State's version of "Mr. March," and he was in top form last night as the Eagles began what they hope is a second straight drive to the NCAA tournament.

Singletary rescued top-seeded Coppin from some anxious moments when he barely beat the first-half buzzer with a three-point jumper that deflated eighth-seeded Howard and sent the Eagles on the way to an 82-66 victory in the quarterfinals of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament.

Singletary carried his late first-half heroics over to the second half, hitting a 15-foot jumper and going coast-to-coast for a layup that gave Coppin a 42-36 lead with 18: 44 left in the game.

His three-pointer at the close of the first half had lifted the Eagles to a 38-34 lead after they had trailed 27-23 with 8: 01 left in the first half.

Singletary went on to a game-high 22 points and inspired his teammates with some fiery words in the second half.

"Danny was yelling in my ear to be real physical inside," said Coppin center Kareem Lewis, "and I tried to do what he said."

Coppin coach Fang Mitchell said: "I don't think Howard was the same team after Danny hit that jumper at the end of the first half. They lost a lot of desire. Danny's just a winner, and he goes out every March and plays like this."

Singletary said he wasn't thinking about rising to the occasion again in March like he did last season.

"I was just playing and trying to win," he said.

Antoine Brockington also had a big game last night for Coppin (20-7) with 19 points, which included four crucial three-pointers.

Lewis contributed 17 points, eight rebounds and four blocks and dominated the second half inside.

"I like the way we played down the stretch," said Lewis. "I think we're ready to make another strong run, but we do have to take one game at a time."

Junior forward Dorian Pena also played a major role in the come-from-behind win over Howard (8-20) with 11 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.

Pena and Lewis were praised by Mitchell for their inside play.

"Danny was great with his big shots, but I think the game really began to change when we started to go inside in the final minutes of the first half," said Mitchell. "That is what we are supposed to do, but we were taking all those jumpers at the start of the game."

Mitchell said he thought his veteran players were nervous, even though they have been through the MEAC tournament before and are favored to win again.

"I could see we were nervous, but we settled down to do our jobs," he said.

Mitchell would not talk about the win being a first step to the NCAA tournament.

"We're playing one game at a time in this league. That's all you can do," said Mitchell. "It's all on our kids now. If they're not ready to play, it's too late for me to do anything about it."

HOWARD -- Singletary 5-18 4-4 17, Smith 4-12 3-4 11, Real 0-0 0-0 0, Abdullah 3-9 4-4 13, Watson 4-13 1-2 10, Simms 0-0 0-0 0, Holliway 0-4 0-0 0, Evans 0-0 0-0 0, Michell 0-0 0-0 0, Bailey 0-1 0-0 0, Adams 0-1 0-1 0, Harry 3-6 3-3 9, McCormick 0-0 0-0 0, Libbett 1-3 4-6 6. Totals 20-067 19-24 66.

COPPIN STATE -- Reavis 1-2 0-2 2, Singletary 7-14 7-10 22, Lewis 7-11 3-5 17, Brockington 7-15 2-2 19, Lewis 0-1 0-0 0, Jones 0-4 0-0 0, Seamon 0-1 3-4 3, Warrick 3-7 1-2 8, Pena 3-6 5-5 11, Watkins 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-61 20-29 82.

Halftime--Coppin State, 38-34. 3-point goals--H 7-18 (Abdullah 3-3, Singletary 3-10, Watson 1-4, Adams 0-1); CS 6-16 (Brockington 4-8, Singletary 1-3, Warrick 1-3, Jones 0-1, Seamon 0-1). Rebounds--H 39 (Harry 9); CS 48 (Pena 13). Assists--H 6 (Abdullah 3); CS 8 (Lewis 3). Total fouls--H 26, CS 22. Fouled out--Harry, Libbett. A--2,874.

MEAC men's tournament

At Richmond, Va.

Tuesday's first round

Howard 79, B.-Cook. 77, OT

Yesterday's quarterfinals

Coppin State 82, Howard 66

S.C. State 64, N.C. A&T 58

Today's quarterfinals

Morgan State vs. UMES, 3 p.m.

Fla. A&M vs. Del. State, 8 p.m.

Tomorrow's semifinals

Coppin State vs. Fla. A&M-Del. St. winner, 4 p.m.

Morgan-UMES winner vs. S.C. State, 6 p.m.

Saturday's championship

Semifinal winners, noon

Pub Date: 3/05/98

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