Coppin State's Vince Goldsberry (11) attempts a layup… (COLBY WARE / PHOTO FOR THE…)
Coppin State's Jordan Lee didn't play the first time the Eagles played Morgan State this season, and he was scoreless in five minutes of the first half Thursday night. The second half, it turned out, was all he needed.
Lee, Coppin's version of Instant Offense, erupted for 19 second-half points and helped deliver a 73-60 victory over the rival Bears in front of an announced — and raucous — 3,118.
The victory sends the Eagles (16-13, 11-5) into the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament as the third seed. Morgan State will enter the tournament as the No. 2 seed behind Bethune-Cookman.
Coppin struggled through a sluggish first half before coach Fang Mitchell turned to his game-changer. In the space of three minutes, the former Loch Raven star scored 11 of 13 Coppin points and pushed the Eagles to a 45-40 lead.
"He's sending me in to make something happen," Lee said of his second-half heroics. "I started feeling it, so I let more go. They kept falling, so I kept shooting."
It was Coppin's first regular-season win over Morgan since 2007, a span of six losses.
But Morgan didn't go easily. The Bears (15-13, 10-6) were within 53-52 before another barrage of 3s ended their comeback hopes.
With 5:36 to play, Lee drained a deep 3 from the corner off a halfcourt pass from Vince Goldsberry. Tony Gallo came back with a 3 a minute later, and Lee hit another to make it 63-58.
Morgan didn't score in the final three minutes of the game, when Michael Harper (14 points) made two huge steals and delivered two thunderous dunks — one of them a windmill slam that brought the crowd to its feet. He finished off the game with another dunk in the final 45 seconds after another Morgan turnover.
Harper finished with five steals.
"We had talked about how they make lazy passes," Mitchell said of the Bears. "So we said, 'Look for an opportunity to get through the passing lanes.' Mike did a good job of that tonight. Those were huge because we weren't rebounding that good."
Morgan, the defending MEAC champion, has lost three straight games for the first time since the 2005-06 season, when the Bears went 4-24 in Butch Beard's final season.
DeWayne Jackson led Morgan with 16 points, and Kevin Thompson muscled his way to 14. The Bears owned a 37-29 advantage on the boards.