The Coppin State men’s basketball team had a late second-half lead in Monday’s game against Florida A&M. It couldn’t hold on.
The Eagles had another shot at victory in the first overtime. That went nowhere, either.
Then Coppin State and coach Juan Dixon did something by now unexpected of a team that ended last season with three straight losses and opened this season with 17 losses in 17 games: They won.
Forward Chad Andrews-Fulton scored the go-ahead layup with 12 seconds remaining in the second overtime period, and the visiting Rattlers missed the would-be game-winning jumper at the buzzer, an appropriately dramatic end to the Eagles’ 79-78 win at the Physical Education Complex and the nation’s longest active losing streak.
Fulton tied for a game high with 19 points, and senior guard Karonn Davis (14 points), junior guard Lamar Morgan (14 points), junior forward Cedric Council Jr. (11 points) and senior guard Tre’ Thomas (10 points) also finished in double figures.
Not since a 74-71 overtime loss at Central Connecticut on Nov. 21 had Coppin State (1-17, 1-2 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) been so competitive. The Eagles were up at halftime. They led Florida A&M (2-17, 1-2) by as many as nine in the second half.
And then ... more of the same old, same old, a reacquainting with problems familiar to a team that entered Monday as one of two winless teams in Division I. (Mississippi Valley State was the other, but even the Delta Devils won two of three to end last season.) The Eagles went the final 9:25 of the second half without a field goal.
With 2:55 remaining, Coppin State trailed by four. But five points in a row later, it was up by one. After an errant Florida A&M 3-pointer with 15 seconds remaining, Eagles graduate student wing Kent Auslander (Maryland) went to the line. He missed the front end of the one-and-one, Andrews-Fulton fouled the Rattlers' Marcus Marham, and Coppin State held its breath.
The first shot dropped in: 57-57. The second missed, and Davis' attempt at the buzzer, after a Coppin State timeout, was off.
An additional five minutes changed little. With the game tied at 67 late in the period, Thomas' 3-pointer with two seconds remaining missed, as did Andrews-Fulton's follow-up attempt.
The Eagles led for much of the final overtime period, and when Florida A&M’s Desmond Williams misfired as time expired, the game ended.
On Saturday at North Carolina Central, another streak could begin.