Coppin State coach Fang Mitchell always wants defense to help carry his team. That's why Mitchell was so happy after his Eagles pulled out a 67-53 victory over North Carolina A&T; at the Coppin Center last night.
Mitchell loved how his defense controlled the second half in Coppin's home opener and the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opener for both teams. The Eagles shut down the three-point-shooting Aggies and held them to 5-for-32 from the field in the second half and only 17 points after the break to record their first win of the season.
"We did it with our defense," Mitchell said. "We knew what they were doing [and] we had to find the shooters."
Nicholas King (20 points), Darryl Proctor (15 points, 11 rebounds) and Darryl Roberts (17 points) sparked the Coppin State offense. Meanwhile, the Eagles played much better on defense in the second half, shutting down the North Carolina A&T; outside game that burned them in the first half.
The Aggies made nine three-pointers in the first half to pull back from an early 12-point deficit and cut the Coppin lead to 37-36 at the break.
But Mitchell shook things up in the second half. He went to a zone and man-to-man and made sure the Eagles knew where the Aggies' shooters were at all times. Coppin State (1-4, 1-0) always seemed to have a hand in someone's face, eliminating the wide-open three-pointers that kept North Carolina A&T; (1-6, 0-1) in the game in the first half.
Coppin State held the Aggies to only two baskets in the final 12:07 - one coming with eight seconds left. The Eagles ended the game with a 19-6 run after North Carolina A&T; had cut the lead to 48-47. Coppin State also had 12 steals and helped cause 24 turnovers that led to 31 points.
"We stepped up the defense in the second half," said Roberts. "They were getting a lot of open shots in the first half."
The Eagles nearly blew the game open in the early minutes. Coppin State scored the first nine points and had a 13-1 lead with 14:36 left. But North Carolina A&T; began hitting threes, getting back to 37-36 at halftime.
King and the defense began to take charge after that. After picking up two fouls that limited him to nine minutes in the first half, King scored 17 of the team's 30 second-half points.
The taller Eagles also gave the Aggies problems inside. Senior center Henry Colter (6 feet 11) finished with four points and five rebounds but blocked four shots and altered countless Aggies shots.
Sean Booker led North Carolina A&T; with 15 points, but coach Jerry Eaves couldn't stop shaking his head about the missed shots from close range.
"We have to do a better job of finishing ... we missed a lot," Eaves said. "[Coppin] did a great job of adjusting, and I've got a [young team]. It's just a growing process."
NORTH CAROLINA A&T; - Hayes 3-9 0-0 8, Carter 3-5 0-0 8, Booker 5-11 2-2 15, Alvis 0-4 3-6 3, Guions 1-4 0-0 3, Koger 2-7 0-0 5, Powell 0-3 2-4 2, Morrison 1-5 0-1 3, Crumpton 1-2 0-0 3, Wills 1-3 1-2 3, Booth 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 17-56 8-15 53. COPPIN STATE - Yates 0-1 0-0 0, King 7-13 1-2 20, Proctor 7-14 1-2 15, Scott 1-7 3-4 5, Colter 2-2 0-1 4, Roberts 4-10 7-7 17, Harrison 1-5 0-1 2, Pressey 1-1 0-0 2, Daniels 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 24-55 12-17 67. Halftime - Coppin State, 37-36. 3-point goals - NCA&T; 11-22 (Hayes 2-6, Carter 2-4, Booker 3-5, Guions 1-1, Koger 1-2, Powell 0-1, Morrison 1-2, Crumpton 1-1); CS 7-15 (King 5-7, Scott 0-1, Roberts 2-5, Harrison 0-2). Rebounds - NCA&T; 37 (powell 7); CS 39 (Proctor 11). Assists -NCA&T; 9 (Alvis 3); CS 11 (Scott 4). A - 1,062.