Boykin, Coppin top Morgan, 68-60

Senior scores 19, leads 2nd-half surge as Eagles clinch share of MEAC title

March 06, 2004|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

Jimmy Boykin had trouble speaking last night. His voice - normally a smooth baritone - was dry and scratchy, the victim of a post-game celebration that had more whooping than high-fiving.

No worries, though. His game had already said plenty.

Boykin, Coppin State's only senior, hit four second-half three-pointers and finished with 19 points, helping the Eagles defeat rival Morgan State, 68-60, in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game before 4,525 at Hill Field House.

It wasn't a perfect performance. Coppin State (16-13, 14-4) had to hold off a spirited second-half run by the Bears (10-15, 9-9), who lost for just the second time at home this season, but it was good enough to earn the Eagles at least a share of the MEAC's regular-season title.

If South Carolina State loses to North Carolina A&T today, Coppin State would have the No. 1 seed in the MEAC tournament, which begins Monday in Richmond, Va.

"My teammates were just good at finding me when I was open," Boykin said. "I knocked some shots down, but really, it came down to defense and execution. We just executed better in the second half."

The emotions of Senior Night - and a packed house that included Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele - helped the Bears take a 11-1 lead in the opening minutes. Bears guards Sam Brand, Reggie Winkfield and Cedrick Barrow all hit three-pointers during the run, and Eagles coach Fang Mitchell needed to take a timeout just 3:06 into the game.

"We weren't there at the start," Mitchell said. "I don't know if it was the long layoff between games or what, but we had problems getting started."

But Boykin and Daryl Jones hit three-pointers on consecutive possessions, and Morgan State responded with five straight misses. Coppin State guard Labeeb Muhammad came off the bench to make a jumper and a layup, and King made a three-pointer to give the Eagles their first lead, 24-21.

After starting 1-for-6, the Eagles hit 12 of their next 18 shots, including an off-balance 20-footer by Nicolaus King with the shot clock winding down just before halftime for a 36-32 advantage.

It looked like Coppin State might blow things open at the start of the third quarter, as the Eagles scored six straight points for a 42-32 lead. But this time, the Bears dug themselves out of a hole. Trailing 49-40, Morgan State got six straight points from forward Aaron Andrews, and when Winkfield drove the lane and hit a jumper with 5:39 to play, the Bears trailed just 53-51.

It wouldn't last. Eagles forward Darron Bradley scored on a put-back, and Boykin hit a three-pointer on the next possession to push the lead to 58-51.

"Jimmy is one of the guys we have on the team that wants to step up," Mitchell said. "He's our only senior, so we look to him to lead all these babies we have."

COPPIN STATE - Boykin 6-13 2-2 19, Colter 3-5 0-2 6, Yates 1-3 1-2 3, King 4-10 1-2 11, Scott 0-5 1-2 11, Otis 1-1 0-0 2, Muhammad 3-5 0-1 7, Bradley 3-3 2-4 8, Jones 3-5 4-4 11. Totals 24-50 11-19 68. MORGAN STATE - Brand 4-10 2-2 12, Andrews 4-8 1-1 9, Barrow 6-12 5-6 19, Winkfield 2-7 0-0 5, Grant 4-11 0-0 9, Timus 3-5 0-2 6, McLean 0-1 0-0 0, Terrell 0-0 0-0 0, Evans 0-0 0-0 0, Lawler 0-0 0-0 0, Aujla 0-0 0-0 0, Berkley 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-54 8-11 60. Half-Coppin, 36-32. 3-point goals-Coppin 9-21 (Boykin 5-10, King 2-6, Muhammad 1-1 Jones 1-3), Coppin 6-17 (Barrow 2-2, Brand 2-8 Winkfield 1-3, Grant 1-3). Rebounds-Coppin 37 (Colter 7), Morgan 23 (Grant 7). Assists-Coppin 14 (Scott 7), Morgan 12 (Barrow 6). Total fouls-Coppin 13, Morgan 15. A-4,525.

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