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Coppin goes cold, stumbles in OT; MEAC leader S.C. State prevails, 80-77, ends Eagles' win streak at 8


Eager not to be forgotten, South Carolina State stalled Coppin State's Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference momentum yesterday, defeating the Eagles, 80-77, in overtime at the Coppin Center.

Coppin (9-13, 8-4), which could've pulled within a half-game of the Bulldogs (12-9, 11-2) in the MEAC race, was held without a field goal for almost all of the extra period, ending its eight-game winning streak.

Coppin coach Fang Mitchell was displeased with all aspects of his team's play. Though the Eagles forced 21 turnovers, they shot only 29 percent and allowed the Bulldogs to grab 18 offensive rebounds.

"I think South Carolina State came in with one thing in mind -- to win," said Mitchell, whose Eagles have their most conference losses since the 1991-92 team finished 9-7 in the MEAC. "It took us awhile to get into the flow. I don't know if we're in the flow yet."

Coray Davis and James Jones scored 23 and 21 points, respectively, for the Bulldogs, who now hold a two-game MEAC lead over Norfolk State (9-4) and 2 1/2 over both Coppin and Morgan State (8-4), whom S.C. State faces tomorrow night at Gilman School.

"I tried to get these guys to have a little more focus," South Carolina State coach Cy Alexander said. "It's us against everyone else. [This weekend] is big because if we are successful, it gives us separation from the teams that are right behind us."

Tied at 71 after regulation, Coppin went cold in overtime and trailed 79-74 after two free throws by Jones with 12 seconds left. The Eagles' Jorge Cajigas (team-high 22 points) hit a three-pointer with four seconds left to make it 79-77.

The Eagles had one more chance after the Bulldogs' Dexter Hall missed one of two free-throw attempts, but Rasheem Sims' inbounds pass went between Cajigas and Fred Warrick as they nearly collided and into the hands of Davis as time expired.

Warrick -- averaging 37 points in the previous two games -- missed all four of his field-goal attempts in overtime and finished 3-for-21 from the field.

"I just shot bad," said Warrick, who sat out most of the first half because he picked up two fouls in the first three minutes. "I missed a couple of open shots. There were a lot of shots, I just didn't knock them down."

Said Mitchell: "It hurts having your leading scorer on the bench. But it's part of the game and we had to play through it today."

Despite his struggles, Warrick did score Coppin's final 11 points in regulation, including a three-pointer with 1: 14 left to send the game into overtime.

S.C. STATE -- Davis 8-14 7-12 23, Hall 4-8 4-10 12, Johnson 2-3 1-2 5, Wiatre 4-16 2-2 13, Jones 5-11 10-12 21, Waller 2-3 0-0 4, Shivers 1-4 0-0 2, Mitts 0-1 0-0 0, Carlisle 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-60 17-27 80.

COPPIN STATE -- Pointer 1-5 4-6 6, Pena 3-7 6-7 12, Sims 1-4 1-2 4, Cajigas 6-14 5-5 22, Warrick 3-21 6-8 15, Hamond 0-0 0-0 0, Seamon 5-11 0-0 15, Cooks 0-1 1-2 1, Watkins 0-1 2-2 2. Totals 19-64 25-32 77.

Halftime--S.C. State 38-34. End of regulation--71-71. 3-point goals--SCS 11-22 (Davis 7-12, Wiatre 3-6, Jones 1-3, Shivers 0-1), CS 14-37 (Pointer 0-1, Sims 1-2, Cajigas 5-12, Warrick 3-12, Seamon 5-10). Fouled out--Pointer. Rebounds--SCS 49 (Hall 15), CS 39 (Pena, Warrick 8). Assists--SCS 14 (Wiatre, Jones 5), CS 13 (Sims 4). Total fouls--SCS 25, CS 19. A--907.

Pub Date: 2/07/99

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