Coppin still has touch vs. Del. State, 66-55

Eagles frustrate Hornets for 20th straight time

January 28, 2001|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Delaware State, which always seems to bring out the best in Coppin State, did it again last night at the Coppin Center.

Senior guard Joe Brown and junior forward Larry Tucker combined for 37 points as the Eagles cruised to a 66-55 victory over a sloppy Hornets squad.

The Eagles (7-11, 5-5 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) have now beaten Delaware State 20 straight times dating to February of 1992.

"We've been very fortunate to get victories against Delaware State," Coppin coach Fang Mitchell said. "It's hard to beat anybody 20 times in a row."

"I think it's a rivalry where both teams come out and play hard," said Brown, "but we were fortunate enough to step up to the challenge. We knocked down shots early and it seemed to break their spirit."

Brown finished with 17 points on 6-for-10 shooting and added 10 rebounds and two blocks.

While the Eagles had no problems hitting shots, shooting 46 percent for the game, the Hornets (5-12, 4-5), who came into the game riding a three-game winning streak, could not buy a basket at times.

They shot just under 33 percent from the field and turned the ball over 16 times, which led to 21 Coppin points.

Said Delaware State head coach Greg Jackson: "We're not in the same class right now with Coppin. Anytime you shoot that percentage, you're not going to win. But they [Coppin] did have something to do with it."

The Eagles took control of the game midway through the first half. After Hornets sophomore Andre Matthews (team-high 15 points) hit two free throws, Coppin put together an 8-0 run, which gave the Eagles a 23-14 lead.

The spurt was interrupted only momentarily by junior Marty Bailey's three-pointer. Brown, who had 13 of his 17 points in the first period, answered with a three of his own, which was followed by two straight baskets by sophomore Enrique Nieves, as the Eagles closed the half with a 16-5 run and a 31-19 lead.

An aggressive Nieves came off the bench to score 10 points, none bigger than his buzzer-beating layup to end the first half.

"It was very important to get that basket. We had the momentum going into the second half," Brown said.

As usual for the Eagles, defense and poor first-half shooting by Delaware State (32 percent) were the catalysts.

"I think we played really good defense," Mitchell said. "You really have to get out on their shooters and stop their penetration."

The Eagles built their lead in the second half to 45-21, their biggest margin of the night, on a tip-in by junior Michael Poster with 15 minutes to play. Delaware State did show some signs of life in the second half with a 9-0 run, which included five points from Matthews.

But Tucker and the Eagles proved too much. Tucker had 20 points, 12 of which came in the second half.

"We couldn't get a run going," said Hornets junior Carrington Hightower, who scored his team's first 10 points of the game before finishing with 12.

"We just let them get a lot of second-chance shots and they ran their offense pretty good. We have to tip our hat to them."

DELAWARE-Matthews 5-9 4-7 15, Stephanenkov 0-4 0-0 0, Calvert 0-2 0-0 0, Hightower 5-14 0-0 12, Johnson 0-1 0-0 0, Nathaniel 2-4 2-2 6, Dulin 0-2 2-2 2, Bailey 4-13 2-4 14, Collier 2-6 2-2 6. Totals 18-55 12-17 55. COPPIN-Poster 1-6 2-3 4, Tucker 7-13 6-8 20, Huff 1-3 0-1 2, Sims 2-6 1-2 7, Brown 6-12 4-5 17, Perez 1-2 0-0 2, Nieves 5-9 0-0 10, Thomas 2-3 0-0 4. Totals 25-54 13-19 66. Halftime-Coppin, 31-19. 3-Point goals-Delaware 7-26 (Matthews 1-3, Hightower 2-8, Bailey 4-11, Stephanenkov 0-2, Collier 0-2); Coppin 3-8 (Brown 1-1, Sims 2-3, Poster 0-1, Perez 0-1, Nieves 0-2). Fouled out-Hightower. Rebounds-Delaware 31 (Stephanenkov 5); Coppin 40 (Brown 10). Assists-Delaware 9 (Matthews, Dulin, Nathaniel 2); Coppin 8 (Sims, Brown 2). Total

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