Coppin pounds UMES, stays in first

Eagles keep MEAC lead at half game by crushing short-handed Hawks, 61-38

February 29, 2004|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

The urgency of the game was not lost on the Coppin State men's basketball team.

With the No. 1 seed in the Mid-Eastern Conference tournament still on the line, the Eagles parlayed their usual gritty defense and a short-handed Maryland-Eastern Shore opponent into an easy 61-38 victory last night before 1,185 at the Coppin Center.

That victory enabled them to maintain their half-game edge on South Carolina State, which won earlier in the day. The Eagles finish their regular-season schedule across town at Morgan State on Friday while South Carolina State has two games remaining, including a tough one at Florida A&M.

Jimmy Boykin, the only Coppin senior, was honored in pre-game festivities in his final home game, then scored 14 of the first 17 Coppin points as the Eagles burst to a 17-5 cushion.

Matters never improved for UMES (7-19, 6-11), which played without its cornerstone, Tee Trotter, who hurt his right knee in the previous game against Hampton and was on the bench in warm-up clothes.

"Basically, we had to win," said Boykin, "and we came out ready to do it. Every game is a tournament-type from now on."

Coppin (15-13, 13-4) steadily pulled away to a 34-11 lead and cruised to its seventh victory in the past eight games.

"Our guys came out with a defensive mentality," said Eagles coach Fang Mitchell. "And without Trotter in there it made a world of difference. That was one less scorer we had to worry about and we could overplay other people. It put a lot of pressure on [Aaron] Wellington to try to score."

UMES nearly won the second half, but could never sustain any offense, shooting just 26.9 percent from the field and going 4-for-20 from beyond the arc.

Javes Wiggins led the Fighting Hawks with 11 points, but six of them came after the outcome was decided.

"I feel real good playing the last game and going out with a win here," said Boykin, who hit three three-pointers to tie Fred Warrick for third on the school's all-time list with 202.

Mitchell is now 31-4 against UMES after winning two blowouts this season. The Eagles took the first meeting, 68-42, on Jan. 24.

Freshman Kelvin Green came off the bench to pace Coppin with 17 points, one more than Boykin.

"Every game is a big one," said Mitchell. "We've got business to take care of the rest of the way."

UMES - Wiggins 4-8 3-4 11, Smith 0-1 0-1 0, Joiner 0-6 2-2 2, Wellington 3-10 0-0 8, Dowling 0-6 1-2 1, Scott 1-3 0-0 2, Gutierrez 0-1 0-0 0, Akanbi 0-2 0-0 0, Wilson 2-4 0-0 6, Socka 1-4 0-0 2, Robinson 2-4 0-0 4, McKinnon 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 14-52 6-9 38. COPPIN STATE - Bradley 1-1 1-3 3, King 1-6 2-2 5, Boykin 4-10 5-7 16, Scott 1-5 0-0 2, Colter 1-3 2-2 4, Parsons 0-1 0-0 0, Otis 3-7 0-0 7, Muhammad 1-3 0-0 2, Jones 2-4 0-1 5, Mott 0-1 0-0 0, Green 6-9 2-7 17. Totals 20-50 12-22 61. Half: Coppin St., 37-15. 3-point goals- UMES 4-20 (Joiner 0-4, Wellington 2-7, Dowling 0-3, Scott 0-1, Akanbi 0-2, Wilson 2-3), Coppin St. 9-24 (King 1-5, Boykin 3-8, Otis 1-3, Muhammad 0-1, Jones 1-1, Mott 0-1, Green 3-5.). Fouled out-None. Rebounds-UMES 32 (Wiggins 8), Coppin St. 42 (Bradley 10). Assists- UMES 4 (Joiner, Gutierrez 2), Coppin St. 11(King, Muhammad 3). Total fouls-UMES 18, Coppin St. 15. Technicals-UMES team. A-1,185.

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