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College Basketball

Morgan State sweeps Coppin State in men’s and women’s basketball doubleheader

The beginning was the end for the Coppin State men’s basketball team.

Morgan State scored the game’s first 10 points and then went on runs of 9-0 and 6-0 midway through the first half to pull away from the host Eagles in an 83-66 victory Saturday evening before an announced 1,717 at the Physical Education Complex Arena.

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The Bears (9-8, 3-0 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) led by as many as 22 points at 36-14 with 6:09 left in the first half and did not see the lead dip below seven in the second half. “We put our foot on their neck. We didn’t let up,” said Morgan State senior shooting guard Malik Miller, who racked up 16 points, a career-high 19 rebounds, five assists and three steals. “They started getting a lot of touchy foul calls and making free throws, and we kind of let them get back in the game. But we just picked up where we left off in the second half and did what we did.”

Senior shooting guard Isaiah Burke sparked the Bears with a game-best 30 points, including 17 in the first half. He is averaging 29.3 points against MEAC competition.

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“I came in focused,” Burke said. “I knew it was going to be a dog fight. So I had to make sure that I put my foot down early, and we all came out there ready to play.”

Burke also played a significant role in limiting Coppin State redshirt senior point guard Sam Sessoms, who entered the game ranked fourth at the NCAA Division I level in points at 22.4 per game. Sessoms finished with nine points on 4-for-12 shooting, six assists, five steals, four rebounds and four turnovers as the Eagles converted just 31.6% (18-for-57) of their shots.

“We never fell when they made their runs, and that’s the mark of a good team,” Morgan State coach Kevin Broadus said. “Our defense was pretty good in holding them to 19 percent [4-of-21] from 3[-point range] and 30-something from the field. I thought our defense today was really good, and we’ve just got to keep building off of that.”

Coppin State (6-14, 1-1) got 20 points each from redshirt senior shooting guard Mike Hood and redshirt sophomore shooting guard Nendah Tarke and 11 points and 10 rebounds from redshirt senior forward Justin Steers before he fouled out with 6:42 left in the game.

Coach Juan Dixon said the Eagles failed to keep their poise during that first half.

“We got sped up, we didn’t execute well defensively, we just have to continue to get better,” he said. “What we did, it works, but our young men have to execute, and as a staff, we’ve got to continue to help them get better. … We’re just making a lot of bone-headed mistakes.”

Hartford at Morgan State

Wednesday, 6 p.m.

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Radio: HSRN

Norfolk State at Coppin State

Saturday, 4 p.m.

Radio: 1570 AM

Women

Morgan State 61, Coppin State 46: The fourth quarter has been the Bears’ best this season, and Saturday was no different.

Morgan State broke a 43-43 tie with 7:44 left in regulation by embarking on an 18-3 run to close out a win over the host Eagles before an announced 612. Graduate student power forward Charlene Shepherd scored 11 of her game-high 27 points in the final period to propel the Bears (9-6, 2-0 MEAC) to their second victory in a row.

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“We’re just a fourth-quarter team,” said Shepherd, who chipped in eight rebounds, four steals and two assists four days after being named the conference’s Co-Player of the Week for a 26-point, nine-rebound, two-steal performance in an 81-71 victory over North Carolina Central a week ago. “It’s something we preach, but we want to be a better first-half team. That’s one thing we’re just trying to work on, but the fourth quarter is just when we usually excel.”

The score was tied 12-12 after the first quarter, 24-24 at halftime and 41-41 after the third quarter. That’s when Morgan State erupted and outscored Coppin State (4-13, 1-1), 20-5, in the final frame.

Saturday’s game marked the seventh time this season that the Bears held an opponent to less than 10 points in the fourth quarter. The Eagles shot 18.2% (2-for-11), including 20% (1-for-5) from 3-point range, in the period.

Morgan State coach Edward Davis Jr. admitted that he would prefer if his players played well for the entire game.

“It’s nerve-wracking because I would rather see consistency throughout the first three quarters,” he said. “But at least I know where we are. … I just think the kids on the bench stayed in the game and came in and played well.”

Sophomore shooting guard Jewel Watkins paced Coppin State with 13 points, eight rebounds and four blocks, redshirt junior shooting guard Mossi Staples scored 12 points, and redshirt sophomore center Nadjy Amira compiled 10 points and four rebounds in her debut since transferring from Dayton.

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But the Eagles committed 30 turnovers to the Bears’ 14 (which Morgan State converted into 27 points), and the Bears took advantage of the absence of 6-foot-4 redshirt senior center Jalynda Salley (ankle) by grabbing 22 offensive rebounds. Coppin State coach Jermaine Woods, who has been forced to play this season without graduate student shooting guard and reigning MEAC Player of the Year Jaia Alexander (arthroscopic knee surgery), blamed himself for the team’s setback.

“I did a bad job of putting the right team on the floor, I did a bad job of putting them in situations to not turn the ball over,” he said. “I’ve got to be better.”

Howard at Morgan State

Saturday, 2 p.m.

Radio: HSRN

Norfolk State at Coppin State

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Saturday, 2 p.m.

Radio: 1570 AM


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