Sims helps Coppin men turn tables on Norfolk

6-game skid vs. Spartans ends in first round, 61-46

College Basketball

March 05, 2002|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

RICHMOND, Va. -- The glue is back and everything is well again with the Coppin State men's basketball team.

With senior point guard Rasheem Sims orchestrating, the Eagles exorcised a nemesis from their midst and completed a first-round siege of upsets in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament at the Arthur Ashe Center yesterday.

Tenth seed Coppin pulled away in the final 4 1/2 minutes to rout No. 7 Norfolk State, 61-46, and advance to tomorrow's quarterfinals against No. 2 seed Delaware State.

Now a totally different team from the one that lost 17 straight games without the injured Sims, Coppin finally mastered an opponent that had won six straight in the series, including a victory in last year's MEAC tournament.

"Basketball is a game of control, and with Rasheem Sims, we controlled the tempo. He puts people where they belong, something that was lacking before," said Eagles coach Fang Mitchell.

"He was our leader before he was injured. People respect him."

The Spartans were making a run at Coppin (6-24) down the stretch, pulling to 47-42 when Mitchell called a timeout. The rest of the way, Sims went 6-for-6 from the foul line, Jimmy Boykin delivered a three-pointer, and Michael Poster added two baskets after Coppin broke the Norfolk press.

Meanwhile, Norfolk State was heaving up threes in desperation, missing most and having four blocked in that stretch run. The Spartans were 2-for-19 on three-point attempts in the second half.

"I felt like they were really trying to rush it," Sims said. "They were expecting to blow us out by 15 or 20 and they got a little frustrated."

Terrance Winston, the Spartans' all-league guard, was 1-for-10 from beyond the arc and settled for nine points.

It was the third straight triumph for Coppin after an initial loss when Sims returned.

Boykin, averaging 18 points in the past eight games, scored 23 to pace the Eagles. Teammate Larry Tucker (Dunbar) eclipsed 1,000 points for his career by contributing 16.

"I'm proud of the way we responded," Mitchell said. "We understood they wanted to get up and down the floor, but we took care of the basketball and didn't give up easy buckets."

Said Tucker: "We played good `D'. A lot of times the clock would get down to about 15 seconds and they were confused and just throwing up shots."

The points were the fewest allowed all season by Coppin, which raised its all-time MEAC tournament record to 20-10.

COPPIN STATE--Sims 0-3 6-6 6, Cagle 2-4 0-0 5, Tucker 5-13 6-8 16, Boykin 9-20 2-2 23, Colter 1-3 0-0 2, Smith 0-1 0-0 0, Poster 3-6 0-1 6, Huff 0-1 1-4 1, Wright 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 21-53 15-21 61.

NORFOLK STATE--Winston 4-14 0-0 9, Mills 0-4 0-0 0, Smith 3-8 0-0 9, Towe 4-9 0-0 10, Aladi 2-2 0-1 4, J. Byrd 3-8 1-2 9, N. Byrd 1-3 0-0 2, Hicks 1-7 0-0 2, Seward 0-1 1-2 1, Boyd 0-2 0-0 0, Young 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-58 2-5 46.

Halftime--Norfolk State 25-24. 3-point goals--Coppin 4-13 (Sims 0-2, Cagle 1-1, Boykin 3-7, Smith 0-1, Poster 0-2), Norfolk 8-30 (Winston 1-10, Smith 3-7, Towe 2-2, J. Byrd 2-6, Hicks 0-4, Boyd 0-1). Fouled out--Mills. Rebounds--Coppin 43 (Tucker, Boykin 7), Norfolk 33 (Boyd 11). Assists--Coppin 11 (Sims 5), Norfolk 8 (Towe, N. Byrd 2). Total fouls--Coppin 13, Norfolk 20.

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