At buzzer, Towson beats Coppin State

Shin's short jumper lifts Tigers, 53-51, in Battle of Baltimore

College Basketball

November 18, 2001|By Bo Smolka | Bo Smolka,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Towson University successfully ushered in the career of new head coach Michael Hunt in the Battle of Baltimore last night.

But it was the kind of game that can turn a coach's hair gray.

Towson center Michael Shin sank a short jumper with one second left to give the Tigers a 53-51 win over Coppin State in a semifinal game at Loyola's Reitz Arena.

Coppin State (0-1) had a chance to tie, but Jimmy Boykin's desperation 18-footer at the buzzer hit the rim and bounced away.

The win advanced Towson to the Battle of Baltimore final for the first time since 1998.

Towson prevailed despite making just one field goal over a 13-minute stretch of the first half. The Tigers compensated for that drought with a 20-2 run that straddled halftime.

But after all the streaks, the game came down to the final two possessions.

Coppin State tied the game at 51 on a fallaway jumper by Larry Tucker with 1:57 left. The Eagles got the ball back in the final minute, but Tucker's three-pointer from the left side missed and Sam Sutton rebounded for Towson with 18 seconds left.

Coming out of a timeout, the Tigers looked first to Gerald Weatherspoon, who had sparked the Tigers off the bench with 12 second-half points.

Weatherspoon was double-teamed in the corner and sentthe ball out to Brian Allen (eight assists), who fed Shin down on the right block. Shin turned and scored with one second left.

"We were going to take the first available shot," Hunt said. "We wanted to go inside, because that's where we had the most success in the second half.

"We wanted to take it with eight seconds or less left, so we'd be assured that we'd get the last shot of the game. It was a little bit less than eight seconds, and that helped us even more."

Of the Tigers' final possession, Coppin State coach Fang Mitchell said: "I just figured the ball was going to go inside. We didn't execute there, and this is a game of execution."

Rasheen Sims had 12 points, four steals and four assists for Coppin, but his 40-minute effort couldn't compensate for the Eagles' lack of proven scorers.

Coppin's troubles were compounded by foul trouble to Boykin and Tucker, who each picked up their fourth fouls midway through the second half.

Hunt's Towson career couldn't have started much better. The Tigers took an 8-0 lead in the first four minutes as Coppin misfired on its first seven shots.

But after the slow start, the Eagles picked up the intensity at both ends of the floor.

The shots started falling, and the Eagles' aggressive zone defense paralyzed Towson's offense. Coppin parlayed that into a 22-4 run that gave the Eagles a 22-12 lead with 3:48 left in the first half.

Towson rallied late in the half behind Shin (game-high 17 points), who scored six points in the final 3:04 to trim Coppin's halftime lead to 26-22.

COPPIN STATE-Thomas 2-6 0-0 4, Tucker 3-12 0-0 6, Colter 2-6 0-0 4, Sims 5-10 1-2 12, Boykin 1-6 0-0 3, Poster 3-5 0-0 8, Huff 6-8 0-0 12, Ferreira 0-3 2-2 2, Cagle 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 22-57 3-4 51. TOWSON-Sutton 5-9 2-4 14, Augustus 0-3 0-0 0, Shin 8-12 1-3 17, Allen 1-5 0-0 3, Dotson 2-6 2-2 7, Weatherspoon 6-8 0-2 12, Goodman 0-1 0-0 9, Goode 0-0 0-0 0, Dixon 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-44 5-11 53. Halftime-Coppin, 26-22. 3-point goals-Coppin 4-12 (Tucker 0-2. Sims 1-3, Boykin 1-4, Poster 2-3), Towson 4-14 (Sutton 2-4, Allen 1-4, Dotson 1-5, Weatherspoon 0-1). Fouled out-None. Rebounds-Coppin 25 (Thomas, Colter 7), Towson 36 (Sutton 11). Assists-Coppin 9 (Sims 4), Towson 17 (Allen 8). Total fouls-Coppin 14, Towson 10.

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