George Mason takes advantage of Coppin

Patriots make half of three-point attempts, trounce Eagles, 80-44

November 29, 2001|By Nathan Max | Nathan Max,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

FAIRFAX, Va. - Coppin State stuck with its defensive game plan last night. However, it played right into host George Mason's hands.

The Eagles played a loose zone defense and forced the Patriots into outside shots. The problem was Mason, which averaged 5.6 three-pointers a game coming in, kept making them.

The Patriots made 11 of 22 from behind the arc and connected on three backdoor alley-oops to embarrass Coppin State, 80-44, before 1,910 at the Patriot Center. It was the Eagles' sixth consecutive loss to George Mason in a series that dates back to when both schools were members of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Five Patriots players scored in double figures, led by senior forward Terrance Nixon, who had a game-high 14 points, as Mason players posted several career highs. Sophomore guard Raoul Heinen had three career-highs with 12 points, nine assists and three three-pointers. Freshman point guard Lamar Butler had a career-high seven assists to go along with 10 points, guard Rob Anderson finished with 13 points, and forward Jesse Young added 11 points and eight rebounds.

For the Eagles, senior guard Rasheem Sims had a team-high 12 points on 6-for-13 shooting.

Coppin State coach Fang Mitchell kept his team in a zone defense until 10 minutes remained in the game. Mason had several open looks and took advantage, hitting 10 of 21 three-pointers over the opening 30 minutes. With the Eagles trailing 64-24, Coppin - which had its two-game winning streak snapped - finally switched to man-to-man.

"It's our bread and butter, and you only abandon your bread and butter out of necessity," said Mitchell, who was assessed a technical foul for arguing with officials in the second half. "I'm always confident that we're going to play defense. If we can't play in a zone, I just can't possibly imagine us playing better in a man."

Coppin was outplayed in nearly every phase of the game. The Eagles were outrebounded, 46-26, and they shot 31 percent on 19-for-61 from the field - including two of 21 from three-point range. Meanwhile, Mason finished the evening shooting 51 percent from the field on 29-for-57 shooting. About the only positive for the Eagles was they only turned the ball over nine times.

Coppin (2-2) trailed 28-20 with 3:53 to play in the first half after a basket by Sims, when it suddenly fell apart. The Patriots (3-1) scored the final 10 points of the half as part of a 36-4 run over the next 14 minutes, in which they hit five three-pointers, to open up their biggest lead of the night, 64-24.

"This is like a fork in the road," Sims said. "You can either go on a downward spiral, or you can learn something from it and get better. We're trying to learn something from it and get better instead of going downhill."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.