Sims, Brown, Cajigas help Coppin top UMES

Trio combines for 58 points in 73-61 quarterfinal win

MEAC men

March 09, 2000|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

RICHMOND, Va. -- Rasheem Sims carried the offense for the first half, Joe Brown and Jorge Cajigas did the honors in the second, and the Coppin State defense limited UMES the entire game in a 73-61 win last night in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference men's tournament quarterfinals.

Brown scored 20 points, all after halftime, and Sims and Cajigas each scored 19 to boost the offense, and the Eagles held UMES to 37.5-percent shooting to pick up the win, despite a late comeback by the Hawks.

Down by as many as 14 points, UMES narrowed its deficit to 57-54 on a basket by Sanyika Street with 3: 02 remaining.

After a circus shot by Cajigas, who scored 16 in the second half, extended the Coppin lead to five, Tyran Watkins committed an intentional foul on UMES' Demetric Reese, initiating a sequence that could have tied the game. But Reece made only one of two foul shots, and missed a three-pointer.

Coppin hit 10 free throws and a field goal down the stretch.

The win was the Eagles' eighth in their past nine games and sends them to the MEAC semifinals for the sixth time in seven years. Tomorrow at about 9: 30 p.m., Coppin will play the winner of today's game between Hampton and North Carolina A&T, teams it beat once and twice, respectively, this season.

Sims, the Coppin State point guard who usually fills his role as a quiet distributor, tied his career high in the first half with four three-pointers and had 16 points as the Eagles took a 26-24 into halftime.

Sims was thrust into the role of savior after his team's offense struggled for the game's first 12 minutes. The Hawks, who endured their own four-minute scoring drought early on, went on a 14-4 run that consisted of successful plays initiated by Reese and Kevin Wallace.

Reese, who had averaged 19.3 points in the past 10 games, scored 10 in the first half, including a three-pointer that gave UMES a 16-7 lead with 9: 30 left.

But Sims cut loose shortly thereafter. He scored seven during a 10-2 run that brought Coppin within 18-17 with 6: 45 remaining. Then, he hit two more three pointers during a 7-0 run for a 24-20 lead, Coppin's first advantage since the opening minutes of the half.

After the break, it was time for someone else to get into the act for the Eagles. Over the first five minutes, that person was Brown. Brown, scoreless after three field-goal attempts in the first half, hit three unanswered shots in the first 1: 30 to put Coppin up 32-24.

Then he scored six more points over a 2: 13 span in which the Eagles outscored UMES 9-0, punctuated by his layup that made the score 42-30 with 12: 39 left in the game.

Brown's three pointer gave Coppin its largest lead of the game, 55-41, with 7: 41 remaining.

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