The Coppin State men's basketball team loves to shoot 3-pointers. The Eagles have relied heavily on them throughout the season, and they again helped them to a victory Saturday.

Sterling Smith scored a game-high 21 points and Taariq Cephas added 20 as the two combined to hit nine 3-pointers. Coppin State made 12 overall from long range as it rolled to an 88-77 win in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game at Hill Field House.


The Eagles (7-21, 6-9) entered Saturday's game ranked first in the MEAC and seventh nationally in 3-pointers made per game (9.5). Their goal is to shoot 30 per game, and while they didn't shoot that many against Morgan State (7-22, 5-10), Coppin State was efficient, making 12 of 21 overall.

"Everyone was clicking on [3-pointers] tonight," Cephas said. "It kept us in the game. We've got some guys who can shoot 3s."

The Eagles made 11 of their first 15 3-pointers before cooling off in the final minutes. Cephas made the five he took in the first half and finished 5-for-7 overall. The Bears couldn't stop Smith, either; he hit four of seven shots from beyond the arc.

Coppin State's long-range shooting was a big reason for its balanced scoring. Dallas Gary (20 points) hit one 3-pointer, as did Christian Kessee (11 points). Daquan Brickhouse (10 points) didn't make a 3-pointer but went 4-for-4 from the foul line and had a team-high four assists.

"It was pretty good to have three, four or five guys clicking at once," Smith said. "That's what let us take the lead."

The Eagles started slowly, and Morgan State jumped out to a 10-2 lead in the game's first four minutes. But when it began taking, and making, 3-pointers, Coppin State started to roll.

Thanks largely to eight 3-pointers — on just 11 attempts — the Eagles scored 45 points in 13 minutes, turning their early deficit into a 51-43 halftime lead.

"That's what they've been doing all year," Morgan State coach Todd Bozeman said. "We let them get away from us on 3s."

Coppin State stretched the lead to 15 just over six minutes into the second half, and Morgan State never came closer than six after that as the Eagles completed a sweep of the season series.

Andrew Hampton led the Bears with 18 points, making four 3-pointers to keep the team close.

Cedric Blossom (16 points and 10 rebounds), Kyle Thomas (15 points) and Torin Childs-Harris (11 points) also scored in double figures for Morgan State, which got 11 assists from guard Emmanuel Matey.

The Bears, who entered the game ranked last in the country in shooting percentage (35.1), were hurt again by poor shooting. They  made 30 of 74 shots from the field (41 percent) but missed a number of high-percentage chances.

Defense hasn't been Coppin State's strong point — the Eagles had ranked next to last in the nation in field-goal-percentage defense — but they were effective in stretches. Their 2-3 zone made it tough for the Bears to drive and often forced them into longer shots they couldn't make.

Coppin State coach Michael Grant liked how his defense played over the final 30 minutes. The Bears scored 26 points in the opening 10 minutes before the Eagles switched to the zone that helped change the game.


"I thought the zone … really slowed them up," he said. "I thought our guys did a really good matching up. We wanted to make sure they took contested shots, and I was very proud of the way our team played defensively."

Recommended on Baltimore Sun