Scott and King help Coppin rally, steal 1 from Norfolk State

Defensive plays move Eagles into second, 72-69

February 03, 2004|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

Similar to Saturday night's loss to Hampton, the Coppin State men's basketball team was vexed by its inability to defend against the three-point shot during its Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game with Norfolk State last night.

But the Eagles found other ways to make big plays on defense down the stretch during a 72-69 win over the Spartans. Raheem Scott made two steals and Nicholas King had another in the final four minutes to give Coppin only its fourth win in 14 meetings between the two teams.

The most pivotal of those came after a King free throw put Coppin up 65-64 with 1:46 left. Facing a driving Ryan Grier, Scott simply snatched the ball away, a play that allowed the Eagles (9-12, 7-3 MEAC) to stretch their lead to 68-64 on a three-pointer by Jimmy Boykin at the 1:05 mark.

Later, King nabbed a cross-court pass as the Spartans (6-13, 5-5) tried to recover.

"We knew that the point guard would try to penetrate and then kick to the shooters," said King, who led Coppin's scorers with 21 points. "We knew where the shooters were at, and just stepped into the passing lanes."

Norfolk had a final chance to tie the game, but Chakowby Hicks - who led all scorers with 24 points - fell short with a long-range shot, moving the Eagles into second place with Delaware State in the MEAC.

It didn't seem so likely during the last 10 minutes of the first half, when Norfolk got into a groove similar to the one Hampton enjoyed. Shooting 6-for-12 from beyond the arc before halftime, the Spartans scored 16 unanswered points at one point and took a 40-31 bulge into the break.

But it took a mere six minutes in the second half for the Eagles to seize the momentum, led by King and Kelvin Green, who had 10 of his 15 points in the second half.

Hitting seven of its first 10 shots, Coppin knocked down three threes during an 11-0 run that put the team up 49-47 with 14:33 left.

More importantly, Coppin's defense tightened up, forcing Norfolk into a more human 5-for-14 rate from long range.

"We had a lot of confusion in the first half," Coppin coach Fang Mitchell said. "I don't see a lot of instances in the second half where they had open shots [from outside]."

NORFOLK STATE-Byrd 3-6 0-0 8, Grier 5-13 1-2 14, Smith 3-7 2-2 9, Hicks 3-7 13-13 24, Ogunride 1-5 0-0 2, Bates 1-4 0-0 3, Bunn 1-1 0-0 2, Dunkley 3-6 0-2 7, Garrison 0-0 0-2 0. Totals 21-53 16-21 69. COPPIN STATE-Yates 3-5 0-0 6, King 4-5 9-12 21, Boykin 4-18 0-0 12, Scott 3-7 0-1 7, Colter 1-1 2-2 4, Otis 1-2 0-0 3, Muhammad 0-0 0-0 0, Bradley 1-1 2-5 4, Jones 0-1 0-0 0, Green 5-14 3-4 15, Daniels 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-54 16-24 72. Half-Norfolk, 40- 31. 3-point goals-Norfolk State 11-26 (Hicks 3-5, Grier 3-6, Byrd 2-4, Dunkley 1-3, Smith 1-4, Bates 1-4), Coppin State 12-28 (King 4-4, Otis 1-1, Scott 1-1, Green 2-6, Boykin 4-15). Fouled out-Hicks. Rebounds-Norfolk State 33 (Grier 8), Coppin State 39 (Boykin 6, Colter 6). Assists-Norfolk State 9 (Hicks 3, Bates 3), Coppin 12 (Colter 5). Total fouls-Norfolk State 21, Coppin State 19. A-1,050.

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