Coppin rides early lead to win, despite Howard's rally, 75-66

Proctor's 22 help Eagles maintain conference lead

College Basketball

February 15, 2005|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The Coppin State men's basketball team appeared en route to a rout in the first half of last night's Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game against Howard. The Eagles had little trouble at either end and took a 19-point lead after 11 minutes.

But that's when Coppin State seemed to lose momentum. Howard made 12 three-pointers to make the game closer, and the Eagles needed Darryl Proctor's 22 points and 10 rebounds to pull out a 75-66 victory at the Coppin Center.

The win helped first-place Coppin State (11-12, 11-3 MEAC) retain its hold as Hampton (10-4 in conference) moved past Delaware State (9-4) into second place.

"We got up big and then relaxed," Coppin State coach Fang Mitchell said of the early 28-9 bulge. "They're always looking for a shortcut, and life is no shortcut. We let the two best shooters get wide-open looks."

Howard (5-17, 2-11) now has lost 11 straight but used its long-range shooting to stay close. Reggie Bates (15 points), Will Gant (14 points) and Darek Mitchell (12 points) each made four three-pointers that helped the Bison slice the halftime lead to 35-32.

But the Eagles didn't lose their composure. Raheem Scott (14 points) and Nicholas King (14 points) combined to make 14 of 17 free throws, and center Henry Colter helped with nine points and 10 rebounds.

Coppin State entered the game ranked third in the MEAC in free-throw shooting and made 29 of 43 from the free-throw line - including 24 of 35 attempts in the second half.

Proctor made a number of key plays and often combined with point guard Scott to get good shots inside. Coppin State's game plan was to keep pounding the ball inside and not get caught in a fast-paced game with a Howard team that likes to shoot often.

But the Eagles got away from that during a few stretches, which let Howard rally. Coppin State did better in the final 10 minutes, working the ball inside, drawing fouls and getting free throws.

Howard made 12 of 30 three-pointers, which kept the Bison in the game.

"We just started getting outside shots [after] getting the ball inside and kicking it back out," Gant said. "We just took advantage of the opportunities."

HOWARD-Gant 4-16 2-2 14, Hudson 1-2 2-2 4, Greene 3-4 2-2 8, Wright 1-2 0-0 2, Nickleson 3-5 0-2 6, Mitchell 4-13 0-0 12, Bates 4-9 3-3 15, Trotter 1-2 3-4 5. Totals 21-54 12-15 66. COPPIN STATE-Otis 2-4 0-0 4, King 3-11 8-11 14, Proctor 8-15 6-8 22, Scott 4-11 6-6 14, Colter 3-7 3-8 9, Roberts 1-4 6-10 9, Woodlin 1-2 0-0 3. Totals 22-58 29-43 75. Halftime-Coppin State, 35-32. 3-point goals-Howard 12-30 (Gant 4-9, Mitchell 4-12, Murphy 0-1, Bates 4-8); Coppin State 2-10 (Otis 0-1, King 0-2, Scott 0-1, Roberts 1-3, Woodlin 1-2, Harrison 0-1). Fouled out-Nickleson. Rebounds-Howard 36 (Gant, Nickleson 7); Coppin State 41 (Proctor, Colter 10). Assists-Howard 13 (Gant, Mitchell 5); Coppin State 11 (Otis, Scott 3). Total fouls-Howard 25, Coppin State 13. A-875.

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