Polk scores 29 to lead Towson over Coppin, 89-74

Eagles start cold and, despite furious rally late, never fully recover

  • Towson's Isaiah Philmore (John Carroll), right, is fouled by Coppin State's Brandon Doughty in the second half of the host Tigers' 89-74 win.
Towson's Isaiah Philmore (John Carroll), right, is fouled… (Baltimore Sun photo by Kenneth…)
November 16, 2010|By Rich Scherr, Special to The Baltimore Sun

Towson guard RaShawn Polk wasn't shy about taking what Coppin State's defense gave him Tuesday night.

Time and again presented with open looks from the perimeter, the Towson junior fired at will, nailing three 3-pointers in the first 2:58 and going on to eclipse his DivisionI career high in the first half alone, helping the Tigers to a huge early lead on their way to an 89-74 win before an announced 2,601 at Towson Center.

After trailing by as many as 23, Coppin staged a furious rally late in the game to pull within six on Michael Murray's fast-break layup with 6:40 left, but the Tigers then shut the door with consecutive baskets by sophomore forward Isaiah Philmore, followed by another 3-pointer by Polk.

"I came in [Monday] night about 11 o'clock and got some shots up," said Polk, who missed 10 days of practice before the Tigers' opener with a concussion. "Then I got some baskets early in the game and could feel my confidence throughout the game."

The win -- in the first meeting between the schools in seven years -- was the fifth straight for Towson (1-1) in a home opener, and improved the Tigers to 24-8 in home openers all-time at the Division I level. Coppin fell to 0-2 for the first time since 2006.

Polk, a junior college transfer whose previous career high at the Division I level had been 20, finished with 29, including four of five from beyond the 3-point line. He scored Towson's first 11 points of the game and had 21 by the final minute of the first half on 7-for-10 shooting.

Philmore also finished with 21.

"When we were playing on all cylinders, we were very, very impressive," Towson coach Pat Kennedy said. "We were able to run off 15 points before you could bat your eye. It was great to see."

Coppin, meanwhile, started ice cold from the field, misfiring on its first eight attempts from beyond the arc. The Eagles never recovered, battling from double-digit deficits throughout the game.

"We didn't get started out like I thought we were going to," Coppin coach Fang Mitchell said. "We were really lethargic and never really attacked it. That won't get it done anywhere in America."

Troy Franklin's steal and fast-break slam 6:52 into the game pushed Towson's lead to nine. Franklin then sank another 3 from the corner, capping his team's 13-0 run and extending its lead to 22-6 midway through the half.

Another 8-0 run later in the half, capped by Philmore's steal, drive and short jumper, put the Tigers up by 20.

Michael Harper led four Coppin players in double figures with 18 points.

"This is far and away the best feel I've had since I've been here," Kennedy said. "The chemistry, the work ethic, the way these guys have been since Day One. … It's just a totally different feel."

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