Coppin halts 17-game skid, 80-64

Mitchell coaches 500th win in rout of Beth.-Cookman

February 26, 2002|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

On any other occasion, it might have been Fang Mitchell's moment in the spotlight.

But last night, when a handful of fans rushed the Coppin Center floor after the Eagles had beaten Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference rival Bethune-Cookman, 80-64, to give the longtime Coppin coach his 500th career win, it was clear they were celebrating something else.

The Eagles (4-24, 2-15) put an emphatic end to their 17-game losing streak by blowing out the Wildcats for their first win since Dec. 21. It also avenged a 24-point defeat to Bethune-Cookman (10-16, 7-10) in January, the Eagles' worst MEAC setback since the 1991-92 season.

"We were just happy to get a win," said Mitchell, who has 273 victories in his 16 seasons at the Eagles' helm. "When you haven't won in so long, the 500 becomes a small thing. These young men deserved a win."

With floor leader Rasheem Sims playing his second game after missing 18 with a broken foot, Coppin's offense ran smoothly, as the Eagles shot 58.2 percent and committed only nine turnovers.

Senior forward Larry Tucker was 8-for-14 from the field for 22 points. Sophomore Jimmy Boykin added 19 and senior Michael Poster had 12.

MEAC leading scorer Richard Toussaint paced the Wildcats with 22.

"They were missing a little bit," Sims said of the Eagles' performance while he was out. "They were not together. When I came back, I figured I was going to control the team and the game."

Coppin State took control last night with a late run to take a six-point halftime lead, then built that lead into double digits throughout the second.

"The team really wanted it and I can say the played well for the full 40 minutes tonight," Mitchell said.

The Eagles took a 50-40 lead when Boykin connected for five straight points. Boykin converted a jumper two minutes later for a 55-44 lead.

Bethune-Cookman did not get within single digits again, as Tucker knocked down two straight jumpers to give the Eagles a comfortable 59-44 advantage.

The lead grew to as many as 21 late in the second half on another Boykin three-pointer, at which point Mitchell rested some of his starters.

The Eagles will end their regular season on Friday against Morgan State, their final game before next week's MEAC tournament in Richmond, Va.

Said Mitchell: `The reality of it is, it is just one victory. We enjoy it tonight, but tomorrow, Morgan is going to be our focal point.`

BETHUNE-COOKMAN-Larmond 4-9 0-0 10, Toussaint 9-20 4-4 22, Ba 4-7 0-0 8, Cage 1-2 0-0 2, Riddick 6-13 1-3 18, King 0-1 0-0 0, Cox 1-4 2-2 4, Carter 0-1 0-0 0, Daniels 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 25-58 7-9 64. COPPIN STATE-Tucker 8-14 6-7 22, Boykin 7-12 2-2 19, Colter 2-2 0-0 4, Sims 2-7 0-0 5, Cagle 4-4 0-0 8, Shortt 0-1 0-0 0, Poster 4-6 2-2 12, Huff 4-8 0-0 8, Wright 1-1 0-4 2. Totals 32-55 10-15 80. Halftime-Coppin State, 36-30. 3-point goals-Bethune-Cookman 7-17 (Riddick 5-11, Larmond 2-5, Coa 0-1); Coppin State 6-12 (Poster 2-2, Boykin 3-7, Sims 1-3). Rebounds-Bethune-Cookman 26 (Ba 7); Coppin State 32 (Huff 6). Assists-Bethune-Cookman 9 (Cage 5); Coppin State 14 (Sims 4). Total fouls-Bethune-Cookman 15; Coppin State 10. A-475.

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