Coppin State bounces Morgan

Mitchell tears into team after trailing at half

Eagles respond, 82-70

February 27, 2000|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Inspired by a 13-minute halftime lecture from an angry coach Fang Mitchell, Coppin State came out of the locker room last night and nearly ran a front-running Morgan State team out of the Coppin Center on the way to a 82-70 victory before a packed house of approximately 3,500.

Morgan and Jimmy Fields had dominated the favored Coppin team (12-14, 12-5 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) in the first half and appeared to be on the verge of sweeping the two-game regular-season series.

Morgan had stunned Coppin, 58-57, at Hill Field House on Dec. 18, and Fields had scored 23 points in that victory after racking up 33 points in two games against Coppin last year.

Fields finished with a game-high 25 points, but Kofi Pointer erupted for 20 points to lead five Coppin players in double figures. Michael Poster had 16 points and 10 rebounds, Jorge Cajigas and Joe Brown each scored 14 and Rasheem Sims had 13.

Ronnie Van Hook added 18 points for the losers (4-21, 4-11) in this MEAC neighborhood duel.

Fields continued to score in the opening minutes of the second half, but the Bears offense and defense suffered when the 6-foot-11 Canady quickly collected his third foul.

Fields scored all five of Morgan's points during a 22-5 Coppin run in the first seven minutes of the second half that shoved the Eagles ahead, 50-42.

But Fields was a lone warrior against a suddenly rejuvenated

Coppin team that attacked the Bears inside and out during a 32-10 surge over the first 12 minutes of the second half. That gave Coppin a 60-47 advantage, and the Eagles fans were roaring their delight after being drowned out the entire first half by the Morgan faithful.

Poster, Pointer and Cajigas combined for 29 points in the opening 15 minutes of the second half. Poster and Pointer also had five rebounds each in the game-breaking run.

Once the Coppin lead reached 74-55 with 3: 14 left in the game, many of the Morgan fans headed for the exits.

The first half was mostly a Fields' highlights reel, as the 5-9 senior scored 14 points on an exciting series of three-point jumpers and even added a fancy finger roll in the lane.

Fields was primed as usual for Coppin State, and he seemed to inspire his slumping Morgan teammates to greater heights. The Bears came out of the first 20 minutes with a surprising 37-28 lead.

With 1: 25 left in the half, Fields amazed his backcourt teammate Angelo Herron with a no-look rocket pass in the lane. The ball came so hard toward Canady that he couldn't handle it but that didn't take any of the excitement out of the play.

Herron just looked at Fields and nodded his head in awe of the pass.

The Fields' pass came after he lit Coppin State up for three three-pointers on the way to a 5-for-8 shooting night from the floor. One of the three-pointers was a long rainbow-like shot from NBA three-point range.

Fields also made a alley-oop pass to Canady for a smashing slam dunk that brought the Morgan State fans out of their seats. The roar of the Morgan fans in the Coppin gym prompted Mitchell to quickly call for a timeout with 3: 45 left with the Bears up, 27-24.

While Fields was stealing most of the show, Coppin was trying to keep pace with some well-distributed scoring.

The Eagles had four players with five points or more, but they were hurt by a 39.3 percent shooting effort from the floor and eight turnovers compared to five for Morgan.

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