Oklahoma weathers Coppin State


NORMAN, Okla. -- Coppin State came out throwing up bombs with the hopes of maybe dropping one on the Oklahoma Sooners last night at the Lloyd Noble Center.

The strategy worked for more than a half before the Eagles wavered and lost, 79-64.

Coppin State (5-5, three losses to Big Eight teams) led by 10 points behind a devil-may-care approach and led, 49-43, with 11 minutes left.

Oklahoma (5-1) bounced back, however, making a few three-pointers of its own and eventually romping to its third win in as many games in the past three years against Coppin State.

Junior guard Keith Carmichael finished with a game-high 23 points, and junior backcourt mate Sidney Goodman added 17 for Coppin State, which finished 8-for-30 on three-pointers after a hot start.

"We didn't shoot particularly well after the first few minutes, but Oklahoma probably had a lot to do with that," Coppin State coach Fang Mitchell said, noting his team entered the game making 44.9 percent of its three-pointers.

"We established the kind of tempo we wanted early with our zone, but we had trouble handling the basketball, had some turnovers and they picked up some momentum and got rolling."

Coppin State regrouped from a tough end to the first half to take a 37-36 lead on two Sidney Goodman baskets, including a three-pointer from well beyond the top of the key.

Carmichael tried 19 three-pointers, making five, to break the Lloyd Noble record for three-point attempts by an opponent set by Brigham Young's Bob Lapener (14 in 1986). Carmichael's 19 attempts also tied the arena record for most three-point tries, set by Bullets guard Brent Price against Loyola-Marymount in 1990. Coppin State also broke the opponent's Lloyd Noble record for three-pointers set by Nevada-Las Vegas in 1987.

The Eagles pushed their lead to 49-43 with 12 minutes left on Carmichael's three-pointer. Michael Thomas added two key baskets in the first 10 minutes of the second half.

Oklahoma sophomore swingman Ryan Minor and senior center Ken Conley led the Sooners back. Minor made a three-pointer from the left wing to tie the score at 49, and Ken Conley scored on a slam and free throw to give Oklahoma a 52-49 lead with 9:46 to play.

Minor followed with a basket inside, and Conley made two more free throws to help Oklahoma extend the lead to 58-51 with eight minutes left. The Eagles got no closer.

Minor finished with 21 points. Conley had 20 points, and his 11 rebounds helped Oklahoma to a 37-36 rebounding edge. Conley also played big defensively when the Sooners went into a man-to-man defense midway through the second half.

"When we stopped using all the tricks and just started playing good, hard defense was the turning points for us," Oklahoma coach Billy Tubbs said. "Then, we had like a five- or six-minute spurt where they didn't score."

The Sooners shot 48 percent, making six of 17 three-pointers. Coppin State shot 36 percent.

"We are struggling offensively," said Tubbs, whose team has only one starter back from last year's NIT team. "A lot of our guys still feel new, so they have a tough time reading one another. And in basketball, that's critical."

The Eagles led for most of the first 19 minutes, 59 seconds, but Dion Barnes made a three-pointer to give Oklahoma a 33-31 lead at the half. Coppin State had led by 10 earlier in the half and by eight with 10 minutes left.

Coppin State led, 13-4, after six minutes, riding the three-point shooting of Goodman and Carmichael. Goodman scored nine points, making two, long three-pointers early. He had 10 first-half points.

Carmichael, who also had 10 first-half points, made a short running jumper from the baseline -- ending a run of seven three-point shots for the Eagles -- to stretch the lead to 15-5 -- the biggest lead of the half -- with 12:50 left.

The Sooners, who had one field goal in the first eight minutes, rallied to 20-18 with eight minutes to go, and pulled even at 22 with 6:10 left after two baskets underneath by Minor.

Thomas scored for Coppin State with a jumper from the wing, the first of four times in the next four minutes the Eagles would tie the score. Carmichael had two clutch baskets, including a long three-pointer.

"Coming in, I knew two things: It was going to be tough, and it wasn't going to be pretty," Tubbs said. "I have to give them a lot of credit. They have an incredibly tough schedule, and they're out there playing hard basketball."

Mitchell said: "We're still awfully young inside, but once we get a little more experience inside, we're going to be a much better team."

The Eagles made four of 15 three-point shots in the first half. Oklahoma made two of eight.

Coppin State shot 37 percent overall to 42 percent for the Sooners, who have lost only eight of their past 113 non-league home games in 14 years.

Coppin State plays the first game in school history at Pittsburgh on Monday. The Eagles' next home game is Jan. 30 against

Loyola, Ill.

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