The clock was ticking, and Raheem Scott was getting desperate. Coppin State needed a basket in a bad way last night, and with a minute left in the game, things looked bleak. Scott, the Eagles' point guard, dribbled to his right, then back to his left, but everywhere he turned, he found himself surrounded by Florida A&M; defenders.
But out of the corner of his eye, Scott spotted teammate Darryl Roberts at the three-point line. He had told Roberts, a freshman, that he might look for him if the play broke down, and so without hesitation, Scott passed the ball in his direction.
"I knew my team was depending on me." Roberts said. "I knew going up, the shot was good. I just had the confidence to hit it."
True to his word, Roberts hit the wide-open look, and it turned out to be the key basket in Coppin State's 59-55 victory over Florida A&M; last night at the Coppin Center. Darryl Proctor made three free throws down the stretch to seal the win, the Eagles' third in a row.
"We buckled down and stayed tough." Roberts said.
The game - which was a rematch of last year's Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament championship, won by the Rattlers - certainly didn't look like it was going to go in the Eagles' favor for most of the night. Coppin State (5-10, 5-1 MEAC) shot just 29.8 percent and trailed by as many as 14 early in the second half.
But slowly and methodically, the Eagles reeled in the Rattlers (3-9, 2-3) with defense and timely baskets.
"I think we lack a lot of execution early." said Coppin State coach Fang Mitchell. "I think we were rushing a lot of things, taking too many jump shots. We toned that down in the second half, and started doing the little things like getting the ball inside. It paid off for us."
The Eagles are making just 37 percent of their field goals this year, which is on pace to be the worst in school history But some of that has been skewed by the Eagles brutally difficult non-conference schedule, which has included teams like Kentucky, Texas, Pittsburgh, Utah and Marquette.
We played some big teams early in the season, and we like that, said Mitchell. " It pays off during this part of the year. It became a situation of who wanted it down the stretch, and I think our guys did a tremendous job showing that they did."