Coppin State coach Fang Mitchell is no stranger to slim margins. So when two of his starters collided in a morning shoot-around yesterday and suffered concussions, he was on familiar ground.
Coppin's margin of error was even slimmer by early evening, when the Eagles trailed Bethune-Cookman by a one point with 21 seconds to play in overtime. But a 20-foot jump shot by Vince Goldsberry with 7.5 seconds left - off a brilliant no-look pass from Tywain McKee - rescued a 63-62 victory at Coppin Center.
"Today was a great team victory," Mitchell said, "especially with the adversity we faced."
In a morning practice, Michael Harper and Sam Coleman (Mervo) ran into each other head-first and were unable to play. Then Mike Buckley came down with tonsillitis, and Mitchell was nearly down to a seven-man rotation.
But Buckley gave him a gritty 20 minutes, and McKee pretty much took care of the rest, lifting the Eagles into a third-place tie in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference at 6-5. They are 9-16 overall.
On the day McKee scored his 2,000th point for Coppin, he showed why was voted Preseason Player of the Year in the MEAC. He scored 12 of the team's first 18 points to keep them in the game early and finished with 26, hitting five of six from three-point range.
The senior guard also had nine rebounds, seven assists and three steals. He went 5-for-6 from the foul line to eclipse Larry Stewart's school record for free throws made with 473.
"Ty's been a terrific player for us," Mitchell said. "He does so many things. We recognize people are going to double him. But we have other people who can score."
Eddie Hayden scored 15 points and took nine rebounds, and Goldsberry finished with 10 points.
Still, McKee scored the last eight points of regulation to tie it at 55. Though he didn't score in overtime, his fingerprints were all over the win.
Trailing 62-59, Bethune doubled McKee and he found Lenny Young in the lane for a jumper. Moments later, he was stripped of the ball driving to the basket, but the Eagles got it back on a Bethune foul in a scramble.
With 21.1 seconds remaining, Mitchell called a 30-second time-out and brought Goldsberry into the game to run a pick-and-roll play. When the double-team came to McKee, he whipped a perfect over-the-shoulder pass to Goldsberry in the left wing for the game-winner, his second of the season.
"It was a big win because we were missing two players," McKee said. "We needed other guys to step up, and they did. The whole team stepped up."