Navy took a huge first-half lead and held on to spoil Juan Dixon’s home coaching debut with a 70-53 victory over winless Coppin State on Wednesday night at the Physical Education Complex.
Midshipmen junior forward George Kiernan scored from all over the court on the way to a team-high 17 points as Navy took a 35-14 lead into halftime and rebuffed a second-half comeback attempt by the Eagles, who fell to 0-9 with the loss.
Dixon was coaching his first game in Baltimore after taking the Eagles on the road for the first four weeks of the season. He grew up in the city and spent his early childhood years just minutes away from the site of Wednesday’s game.
The Mids improved their record to 8-3 with a solid shooting night that also featured double-digit performances by forward Tom Lacey (13 points), guard Bryce Dulin (13 points) and guard Hassan Abdullah (10 points). Navy hit 27 shots from the field on 52 attempts for a 51.9 percent field-goal percentage.
It took awhile for the Eagles to feel at home. They could not find the basket in the first half, shooting just 21 percent from the field and 14 percent from the arc. When they finally started to make some shots, they pulled to within 14 points midway through the second half before the Mids scored a series of fast-break baskets to regain control.
Once the Eagles settled down after halftime, they would go on to outscore the Mids in the second half 39-35. Guard Karonn Davis led all scorers with 18 points, hitting on six of 13 shots and three of seven from 3-point range.