Coppin takes control early in 86-61 win over Howard

Cajigas scores 25 to lead balanced Eagles attack

February 06, 2000|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

WASHINGTON -- Jorge Cajigas scored 25 points in Coppin State's 86-61 victory over Howard yesterday, leading an effort in which five Eagles scored in double figures and the team showed the ability to put away an opponent, a trait that comes with maturity.

Granted, the result shouldn't have come as a surprise. Howard (1-18, 1-9 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) doesn't give many teams trouble, and Coppin (8-13, 8-4) had won five of eight games entering yesterday.

Still, opponents such as the Bison have given Fang Mitchell's team trouble.

This time, however, the Eagles took control early and kept a tight hold throughout, leading 40-26 at halftime.

Cajigas was the catalyst, scoring 17 points on four three-pointers (in eight attempts) in the first half against the advice of Mitchell, who would have liked to have seen more inside play with the Bison starting a four-guard lineup.

"You talk about him launching jump shots when I want to go inside. I'm just glad he hit them," Mitchell said.

On defense, Coppin pestered Howard into 40 percent shooting, which also pleased the coach.

In particular, he was happy that the Bison hit only two of nine three-point attempts in the first half, failing in the only area where there was hope of scaring the Eagles as they did last season before falling in overtime.

"Our defense really carried us today," Mitchell said. "That was the only thing I worried about; allowing them to start shooting threes and making them."

Coppin pressed its advantage with a 22-5 run at the start of the second half that was led by Joe Brown and Larry Tucker, who finished with 15 and 10 points, respectively. With 6: 19 remaining, the Eagles achieved their largest lead, 75-43, before Mitchell began clearing his bench.

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