Coppin outlasts Morgan in OT to secure MEAC bye

Eagles prevail in thriller, will be No. 2 seed in tournament

Coppin State 67 Morgan State 63

March 04, 2006|By KEVIN VAN VALKENBURG | KEVIN VAN VALKENBURG,SUN REPORTER

It was physical. It was tense. It was emotional. It was exhausting. It was so good, 40 minutes weren't quite enough time to decide a winner.

It was, in the end, everything you'd both want and expect from a Coppin State-Morgan State rivalry game, especially if you were an Eagles fan. Though both teams put up a heck of a fight, Coppin State was just a little better in overtime, hitting enough free throws to pull away for a 67-63 victory before 1,720 at the Coppin Center.

The win, which ended a three-game losing streak for the Eagles (12-17, 12-6), clinched the No. 2 seed in next week's Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament in Raleigh, N.C. It also means Coppin State will get a much-needed first-round bye.

"We needed that one really bad," Coppin State coach Fang Mitchell said. "We didn't play smart, didn't hit foul shots down the stretch, and we gambled too much. But we needed that win, and we got that win."

Darryl Proctor and Darryl Roberts both played major roles for the Eagles, though Morgan State's Joseph McLean and Marcus Gomes were just as critical for the Bears (4-25, 4-14).

Gomes hit four three-pointers and led the Bears with 17 points, and McLean scored 16 and hit two jumpers near the end of regulation, included one with 1.6 seconds left that tied the game at 55 and sent it into overtime.

But Proctor (17 points, 12 rebounds) and Roberts (14 points) would not let Coppin State collapse in big moments, and that was the difference.

"They definitely had momentum going into overtime," Roberts said. "I almost questioned us at the start of overtime. But we buckled down and got through it. We needed this win for our confidence."

Nerves clearly played a role in the first half, and the two teams exchanged one sloppy possession after another. Coppin State shot just 34 percent in the first half, Morgan State just 33 percent, and the teams combined for 21 turnovers.

But a lively crowd and some great plays down the stretch help turn the game into another classic in this rivalry. Coppin State led 53-51 with 31 seconds left and looked like it was in control after Morgan State was whistled for a five-second call courtesy of some great defense by Roberts on McLean.

McLean, however, wasn't about to go quietly. After Proctor hit one of two free throws to put the Eagles up by three, McLean scored on a baseline drive with 8.9 seconds left. Proctor hit one of two free throws to give Coppin State a 55-53 lead, but McLean dribbled the length of the court and banked in a runner in the lane to force overtime.

"I definitely thought we had the edge," said McLean, who also grabbed 13 rebounds. "We had momentum because they thought we were gone, but we didn't quit."

In overtime, Roberts hit an early three-pointer to put Coppin up 60-57, and the Eagles never gave up the lead from that point, making seven of eight free throws to close out the victory.

kevin.vanvalkenburg@baltsun.com

MORGAN STATE- Berkley 2-7 0-3 4, Spinner 6-9 1-2 13, McLean 7-17 1-2 16, Gomes 6-17 1-1 17, Warfield 3-5 0-0 6, Jenkins 0-0 0-1 0, Reed 1-1 0-0 3, Branch 0-3 0-0 0, Folayan 2-3 0-0 4, Cunningham 0-0 0-0 0, Lymas 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-62 3-9 63. COPPIN STATE- Proctor 5-13 7-10 17, Pressey 2-5 1-3 5, Bell 1-3 0-0 3, McKee 3-14 6-10 12, Harrison 2-5 0-0 4, Roberts 5-11 1-2 14, Otis 0-0 2-2 2, Miller 0-0 0-0 0, Woodlin 2-4 3-3 7, Norwood 0-0 0-0 0, Chesnut 1-4 1-2 3. Totals 21-59 21-32 67. Halftime-Tied at 22. End of regulation-Tied at 55. 3-point goals-Morgan State 6-23 (Gomes 4-14, Reed 1-1, McLean 1-4, Spinner 0-1, Branch 0-3), Coppin State 4-11 (Roberts 3-6, Bell 1-3, McKee 0-2). Fouled out-Warfield. Rebounds-Morgan State 43 (McLean 13), Coppin State 36 (Proctor 12). Assists-Morgan State 10 (Spinner 3), Coppin State 12 (McKee 5). Total fouls-Morgan State 27, Coppin State 16. A-1,720.

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