Coppin finishes strong

Roberts, Woodlin deliver vs. Morgan, raising Mitchell's MEAC tourney hopes

Coppin State 71 Morgan State 62

March 04, 2007|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Sun reporter

Even as Darryl Roberts was saying hello again at Coppin Center, Augie Woodlin was saying goodbye. They were equally eloquent, though, in guiding Coppin State past crosstown rival Morgan State, 71-62, yesterday.

Roberts, who missed half the season with a fractured foot and sprained ankle, gave the Eagles fresh legs and a crucial three-pointer in the season finale of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

Woodlin, a senior guard playing his final home game, scored nine of his 11 points in the final eight minutes to give the Eagles new life.

Mix in Tywain McKee's 20 points and 19 more from Antwan Harrison and you had a Coppin coach who couldn't wait to get down to Raleigh, N.C., for the MEAC tournament.

"We're going to win," Fang Mitchell said, without hesitation. "I truly believe we're going to win. It's an attitude I know we have to have. I know [we're] capable of winning. ... I know we have the opportunity to win.

"I know it's against all odds, but we've been there before."

Actually, only once before as an eighth seed, which is what the Eagles (8-8 MEAC, 11-19 overall) will be when they face ninth-seeded Bethune-Cookman on Tuesday at 9 p.m. in a first-round game.

"We've got confidence in our game now because this is a big lift," McKee said of yesterday's frenetic finish.

The Bears, meanwhile, were something less than frenetic. Playing for the third seed in the conference tourney, they dominated the boards against smaller Coppin, but had 19 turnovers in an uninspired effort.

At 10-8, they finished in a five-way tie for third place and had to settle for the fifth seed. That earns them an 8 p.m. Wednesday game against South Carolina State.

Morgan coach Todd Bozeman wasn't quite sure what to make of the effort - or wasn't willing to say.

"I'm trying to change the culture and teach them how you have to have a winning demeanor all the time," he said. "It's still a process."

Bozeman was ready to put the Bears' 12-17 regular season behind him, though. He found some comfort in the fact Morgan rebounded from an 0-6 start this season to have a winning conference record.

"The fact we've done it before is confidence enough," he said.

Mitchell had an easier time finding his optimism. The return of Roberts at point guard allows McKee to play off-guard, where he's at his best. Roberts scored five points in 20 minutes, but his three-point shot with 9:51 left broke the ninth and final tie of the game at 47.

Woodlin picked it up from there. He hit a three from the corner at 7:44, a runner at 7:00, two free throws at 5:20 and another pair at 1:06. When he missed the front end of a one-and-one at 1:24, he came out of a scramble with the ball.

"Augie was tremendous in the stretch," Mitchell said. "When we needed one stop at the end, he came up with a big rebound."

Coppin had 12 fewer rebounds than Morgan, but offset that with defensive quickness.

"When we play defense," McKee said, "it leads to scoring. If we don't play `D,' we can't beat anybody."

Since losing 10 of 11 games, the Eagles have won eight of their last 12.

MORGAN STATE-Green 0-2 2-5 2, Timus 7-16 3-5 17, Coly 5-9 3-6 13, McLean 5-9 0-0 12, Berkley 0-0 0-0 0, Branch 0-0 0-0 0, Holmes 0-2 0-0 0, Barnes 0-1 0-0 0, Aujla 0-0 0-0 0, Smith 7-17 2-4 18, Hemsley 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-56 10-20 62. COPPIN STATE-Harrison 8-15 3-5 19, Chesnut 2-3 0-0 4, Otis 0-4 0-0 0, McKee 7-15 5-5 20, Woodlin 3-5 4-5 11, Britt 0-0 0-0 0, Roberts 2-5 0-0 5, Miller 0-2 0-0 0, Conyers 3-4 3-3 10, Pressey 0-3 2-2 2, Kennedy 0-5 0-0 0. Totals 25-61 17-20 71. Half-Tied 32. 3-point goals-Morgan State 4-8 (McLean 2-3, Smith 2-4, Barnes 0-1), Coppin State 4-11 (Woodlin 1-1, Conyers 1-1, McKee 1-2, Roberts 1-3, Miller 0-1, Harrison 0-1, Kennedy 0-2). Fouled out-None. Rebounds-Morgan State 44 (Coly 17), Coppin State 32 (Pressey 8). Assists-Morgan State 13 (Barnes, Smith 3), Coppin State 11 (McKee 4). Total fouls-Morgan State 19, Coppin State 17. A-1,174.

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