NORMAN, Okla. -- Terquin Mott and Reggie Welch are two key pieces to the puzzle Coppin State coach Fang Mitchell has been working on the past couple of seasons. Without his two All-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference selections, Mitchell might as well be blindfolded.
The Eagles opened their season last night without Welch -- suspended for violating team academic rules -- and with Mott slowed considerably by the flu. Oklahoma took full advantage of their absence by rolling to an 88-64 victory.
Even with Mott in the game early, Coppin State (0-1) never really got untracked against the Sooners, who made 12 of 22 three-point shots en route to victory and a 3-0 record. Nate Erdmann led a balanced Oklahoma attack with 19 points, all coming in the first half.
Early foul trouble forced the Sooners to abandon their regular man-to-man defense and opt for a variety of zones that surprisingly gave Coppin State fits. The Eagles turned the ball over 13 times in the opening half and had difficulty locating Mott in the paint.
"There was a point where we had a problem adjusting to their zone," said Mitchell, who noted Mott was forced to leave the court a couple of times in the first half to visit the bathroom. "When they went zone -- that was just a good move by Coach [Kelvin] Sampson.
"In order for this team to be successful, we're going to need all of our ingredients in place."
Meanwhile, Oklahoma was turning in another sizzling first-half shooting performance, hitting seven of 11 three-pointers and 61.5 percent of its shots in all. The Sooners went on a 27-6 run midway through the opening 20 minutes and turned a 13-11 deficit into a 38-17 lead.
Erdmann led the Sooners' first-half explosion as he made seven of 10 from the field, including four three-pointers. The senior guard's second trey gave Oklahoma a 14-13 lead and ignited the big scoring run with 12: 44 left in the half.
With Mott out of the flow and limited to a very quiet nine first-half points, the Eagles got a lift from junior guard Antoine dTC Brockington, who scored 10 of his team-high 23 points in the opening half. Still, Coppin State trailed 44-28 at intermission.
The Eagles lost Mott's services completely in the second half when he was relegated to the bench due to his illness. Coppin State tried to compensate by escalating its swarming man-to-man defense, but the offensive firepower simply wasn't there.
Brockington and Kareem Lewis tried to keep it close and when Tyran Watkins hit a short hook shot with 11: 44 remaining, Coppin trailed just 56-44. But the Sooners got three-pointers from Robert Allison and Tim Heskett to push their advantage back to 71-49.
Coppin never got any closer.
Lewis was the only other Eagle in double figures as he finished with 17 points and four rebounds. Danny Singletary added eight points.
Pub Date: 12/01/96