Fang Mitchell

Fang Mitchell (Sun photo by Gene Sweeney Jr. / March 14, 2008)

Coppin State men’s basketball coach Fang Mitchell isn’t too worried about seeding.

The Eagles (9-18, 6-8 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) sit in seventh place with just two games to play before the conference tournament, but with that he finds inspiration.

“Look at last year,” Mitchell said. “North Carolina A&T came in as the 7th seed and wound up winning the conference championship. So, it is possible. We are optimistic.”

Mitchell also hearkens back to 2008, when Coppin State grabbed the No. 7 seed and won the tournament.

“The tournament gives us an opportunity, and everyone is aware of that fact that anything can happen,” he said.

The regular season is not over yet, though. And despite dropping their past four games, Coppin State has two more home games left.

The Eagles welcome in last-place Maryland Eastern Shore (4-21, 2-10 MEAC) on Saturday and Howard (6-21, 4-8 MEAC) on Monday.

Coppin State defeated UMES, 58-50, on Feb. 8. The Eagles' top player Michael Murray scored 10 points on 3-for-8 shooting in the win. The senior small forward is averaging 14.1 points per game this season but will need some help to stop Coppin State’s skid. 

“Right now we are in a losing streak, we have to turn that around, and I believe we can do it,” Mitchell said.“I think Michael has to remain consistent, just as he has been for us. It’s just some of the other contributions from other people.

“Our biggest problem is not the offense,” Mitchell said. “We do score enough points to win games. But we do have to concentrate more on defense and not being so open to giving up free stuff. So it’s just a matter of time. It’s a maturity factor. They are going to have to buckle down and play better defense than we are right now. It goes back to the basic man to man principle of keeping someone in front of you, and being able to play solid defense.”


This week’s state schedule

COPPIN STATE: vs. Maryland Eastern Shore (Saturday), vs. Howard (Monday)

LOYOLA: @ Navy (Saturday), Patriot League tournament begins Monday

MARYLAND: @ Clemson (Sunday), vs. Virginia Tech (Tuesday)

MORGAN STATE: vs. Bethune-Cookman (Saturday), vs Florida A&M (Monday), @ Howard (Thursday)

MOUNT ST. MARY’S: vs. Saint Francis (Saturday), Northeast Conference tournament begins Wednesday

NAVY: vs. Loyola (Saturday), Patriot League tournament begins Monday

TOWSON: vs. William & Mary (Saturday)

UMBC: @ Hartford (Sunday)

UMES: @ Coppin State (Saturday), @ Norfolk State (Monday), vs. Delaware State (Thursday)

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