Howard gangs up on Coppin, 84-67

Despite 30 from Tucker, Eagles lose sixth in row

January 08, 2002|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

WASHINGTON - Senior forward Larry Tucker did all he could to keep the Coppin State close, for a while, against Howard last night.

But the Bison, with a wave of players stepping up at different times to more than compensate, proved too much for the road-weary Eagles.

A 12-4 run midway through the second half provided the necessary separation as Howard stayed perfect at Burr Gymnasium with an 84-67 victory over the Eagles.

It was the 10th straight road game for Coppin, which went 1-9 in the stretch and fell to 3-13 overall and 1-4 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. The Eagles welcome a return to the Coppin Center to take on UMES on Monday night in a bid to break a six-game losing streak before returning to the road to take on Bethune-Cookman on Jan. 19.

Howard, 5-0 on its home court, improved to 8-6 overall, 3-1 in the MEAC.

Ron Williamson (23 points) and Jonathan Stokes accounted for all 12 points in Howard's pivotal second-half run. In the first half, it was Kyle Williams who scored 13 of his team-high 24 points. Simply put, the Howard balance was too much for Coppin and Tucker, who finished with a career-high 30 points, to overcome. Darren Kennedy added 14 points and Aki Thomas had 13 for the winners.

"They do a good job of spreading the ball around and their balance hurt us," said Coppin State coach Fang Mitchell. "They hit some big shots and played some good defense on us late. Scoring has been our problem all year long, and anytime you give up 84 points, you're not going to win.`

Robert Smith's three-pointer gave the Eagles a 44-42 lead with 15:50 left, but it was Howard's long-range game that put it away.

Williamson followed with a three of his own, added a jumper and later hit another three with Stokes hitting two baskets in between to give Howard a 54-46 lead that wouldn't be threatened.

"Down the stretch, they started doubling up on me and we didn't have anyone else step up," Tucker said. "We also didn't play defense and that's what's going to win games for us."

The Bison opened with the game's first nine points before Tucker got Coppin State back into the game.

He showed a soft touch on a short turnaround jumper early, but did most of his damage - 20 first-half points in all - with dominating inside play and efficiency at the free-throw line, where he went 8-for-9.

The senior forward's three-point play with 4:47 until the break gave the Eagles their only lead of the first half, at 28-27, with Williams hitting a jumper at the buzzer to give the Bison a 36-34 lead at the halftime.

COPPIN STATE-Poster 1-6 0-0 2, Wright 0-1 0-0 0, Colter 0-2 0-0 0, Smith 5-14 2-2 14, Tucker 9-16 12-14 30, Huff 4-6 0-0 9, Boykin 5-11 0-1 12. Totals 24-56 14-17 67.

HOWARD-Kennedy 5-7 3-4 14, Grove 1-2 1-2 3, Thomas 5-11 3-6 13, K.Williams 8-14 5-6 24, R.Williamson 8-17 2-2 23, Goodrich 0-1 1-2 1, Stokes 3-3 0-0 6, Abdullah 0-0 0-0 0, Jackson 0-1 0-0 0, Radford 0-0 0-2, 0, Aluko 0-1 0-0 0, Terry 0-0 0-0 0, Miller 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 30-58 15-24 84.

Halftime-Howard 36-34. 3-point goals-Coppin State 5-15 (Poster 0-3, Smith 2-8, Huff 1-1, Boykin 2-3); Howard 9-21 (Kennedy 1-3, Williams 3-6, Williamson 5-10, Goodrich 0-1, Jackson 0-1). Fouled out-Colter. Rebounds-Coppin State 38 (Smith 9); Howard 30 (Thomas 8). Assists-Coppin State 9 (Poster, Smith, Tucker, Boykin 2); Howard 15 (Kennedy 3). Total fouls-Coppin State 22; Howard 19. A-992.

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