UConn sends Coppin to new low, 89-44

Defending champs inspire Eagles' most lopsided loss

November 30, 1999|By Dan Hickling | Dan Hickling,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Nobody figured the Coppin State Eagles were really going to beat the defending national champion Connecticut Huskies when they met last night at the Hartford Civic Center.

Or that the Eagles would stay within 22 points, as they did in their previous meeting with the Huskies two years ago.

But surely coach Fang Mitchell expected more than the 89-44 clobbering laid on his Eagles last night by the No. 5 Huskies before a crowd of 16,150.

"I recognize the fact that we're young," Mitchell said. "That's why I'm being a kinder, gentler person. But we're playing basketball out there. There shouldn't be too much intimidation. There ain't nobody out there with an Uzi. I don't know how much harm could come to them out there."

If the expectation level was low, then Coppin (0-5) did its best to make it a self-fulfilling prophecy. The 45-point margin represented the most lopsided defeat in school history, surpassing the mark of 43 that had stood for two decades.

The Eagles shot a meager 32.1 percent from the field in the first half, not nearly laser-like enough to make it interesting. Not against a UConn team that hadn't dusted off its "A" game and still took a 46-23 lead into halftime.

"We started off by giving them too much respect," Mitchell said. "If you give a team like that too much respect, you're going to have those kinds of problems."

"We played OK in the first half," said UConn coach Jim Calhoun, whose 4-1 Huskies shot 51.5 percent (17 of 33) before the break.

However, the worst was yet to come. While UConn, led by point guard Khalid El-Amin (game-high 18 points), shifted into high gear, the Eagles were throwing up bricks. Coppin shooters were 0-for-10 after halftime until Larry Tucker drove down the baseline and made a layup. By then, a full 9: 51 had been played and the deficit had swelled to 45 points.

The Eagles missed eight more field-goal tries until Pierre Denervaud made a three-pointer with 5: 22 remaining. In all, they shot a paltry 25 percent for the half, and that included a 10-point spurt in the final 1: 44.

"The game was out of hand," Mitchell said, "and now all of a sudden they want to shoot a few jump shots, like it's a new world out there. But that's because the pressure was off. They tell me pressure will bust a pipe, so I can imagine what it did to us today."

If there was a silver lining to be seen, it was the career-high 17-point performance by Kofi Pointer, a senior out of Southern High.

COPPIN STATE Pointer 7-14 3-8 17, Tucker 3-16 1-2 8, Watkins 0-2 1-2 1, Sims 0-6 0-0 0, Cajigas 2-10 0-0 5, Poster 2-6 2-3 6, Denervaud 1-3 0-0 3, McKie 2-3 0-0 4. Totals 17-60 7-15 44.

CONNECTICUT Freeman 4-8 4-7 12, Saunders 4-5 0-2 8, Voskuhl 5-5 3-4 13, Mouring 1-6 3-4 6, El-Amin 8-13 0-0 18, Ocitti 0-0 0-0 0, Deng 3-6 0-0 6, Archibald 1-1 0-0 3, Watson 0-0 0-0 0, Brown 2-2 0-0 4, Robertson 0-5 2-2 2, Wane 2-4 2-2 6, Cox 1-7 2-2 4, Wrenn 3-4 0-2 7. Totals 34-66 16-25 89.

Halftime--Connecticut 46-23. 3-point goals--Coppin St. 3-8 (Tucker 1-1, Denervaud 1-1, Cajigas 1-3, Sims 0-1, Poster 0-2), Connecticut 5-22 (El-Amin 2-5, Archibald 1-1, Wrenn 1-1, Mouring 1-5, Freeman 0-1, Deng 0-2, Robertson 0-2, Cox 0-5). Fouled out--None. Rebounds--Coppin St. 35 (Pointer 9), Connecticut 49 (Wane 10). Assists--Coppin St. 7 (Denervaud 3), Connecticut 22 (El-Amin, Cox 7). Total fouls--Coppin St. 17, Connecticut 15. A--16,150.

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