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Buzzer-beating 3-pointer sinks Coppin in overtime


Things just keep getting worse for the Coppin State men's basketball team.

Mired in the worst season in school history, the Eagles lost a heartbreaker yesterday afternoon when Florida A&M; sophomore guard Demarcus Wilkins hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer to complete a 30-point outing and give the Rattlers a 67-64 overtime victory in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game at Coppin Center.

The shot was especially painful since Wilkins had hit a three-pointer with two defenders in his face to tie the game at 64-64 with 44.1 seconds remaining in overtime, and made an open three-pointer with 0.9 of a second to play in regulation to tie the game at 59.

Coppin (3-24, 1-15 MEAC), which lost its 17th straight, had led by as much as 10 in the first half and by as many as seven in the second half. Eagles coach Fang Mitchell criticized his team after the game.

"There's a conflict right now," said Mitchell, whose team has not won since Dec. 21. "I'm trying to do the best I can with people who have better ways of doing things. That's today's youth. They don't believe what you say half the time. They don't listen all the time. That's every team in America. Some teams have more talent than others.

"It falls on me, and I'll take the responsibility for this team. I haven't driven my point across to them well enough. It'll be turned around. There's not even a question in my mind of it."

The loss dropped Coppin to 0-7 at home this season, where it was nearly unbeatable during the program's heyday.

In the 1990s, the Eagles compiled a 94-9 record at Coppin Center. Another sign of the times, the win for the Rattlers (8-17, 8-8) was their first at Coppin Center since 1992 and completed their first season sweep of Coppin since 1988.

The 17 consecutive losses are the longest in Mitchell's 16-year tenure and the second-longest in school history. Coppin lost 22 consecutive games over the 1964-65 to 1965-66 seasons.

Forward Jimmy Boykin scored a team-high 22 points for the Eagles, forward Larry Tucker had 15 points and eight rebounds and forward Henry Colter added 10 points and seven rebounds.

For Florida A&M;, center Jermaine Hill had 17 points on 8-for-11 shooting and 11 rebounds, and guard Michael Griffith scored 11 points.

The Eagles were hurt most by Wilkins, who went 11-for-16 from the field, hit 6-for-8 from three-point range and scored 21 points after halftime.

"It shouldn't even have gotten to overtime," Boykin said. "We haven't learned to close out games. When [Wilkins] was open to tie the game at the end of the second half, that was another defensive breakdown. And defensive breakdowns like that cost us the game."

FLORIDA A&M-Tudeme; 1-6 2-4 4, Hill 8-11 1-2 17, Ross 0-0 0-0 0, Wilkins 11-16 2-2 30, Griffith 4-12 0-2 11, Jackson 2-7 0-0 5, Miles 0-3 0-0 0, Cuyler 0-0 0-1 0, Cisse 0-1 0-0 0, Jenkins 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 26-57 5-11 67. COPPIN STATE-Tucker 3-9 9-14 15, Boykin 6-11 7-8 22, Colter 5-8 0-2 10, Ferriera 2-9 4-4 9, Cagle 2-3 2-7 6, Sims 0-2 2-2 2, Poster 0-1 0-0 0, Huff 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 18-44 24-37 64. Halftime-Coppin St. 30-24. 3-point goals-Florida A&M; 10-19 (Wilkins 6-8, Griffith 3-6, Jackson 1-3, Miles 0-2), Coppin St. 4-11 (Boykin 3-5, Ferriera 1-4, Cagle 0-1, Sims 0-1). Fouled out-Tucker. Rebounds- Florida A&M; 34 (Hill 11), Coppin St. 32 (Tucker 8). Assists-Florida A&M; 13 (Griffith 5), Coppin St. 9 (Tucker 3). Total fouls-Florida A&M; 24, Coppin St. 16. A-457.

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