BALTIMORE – Coppin State started a critical four-game homestand by pulling away late for an 80-67 triumph over cross-town rival Morgan State.
The Eagles (4-18 overall, 3-5 MEAC) treated the national television audience to a five-star performance by placing four players in double figures for the fourth straight contest. Coppin State never trailed as it ended a six-game losing streak to Morgan State (4-18, 2-6).
Leading Coppin State’s offensive barrage was senior Arnold Fripp, who scored 22 points and gathered nine rebounds in 35 minutes. Fripp scored 14 points in the opening 20 minutes to help Coppin State open a 41-30 lead at intermission. It was the second time this season Fripp scored 20 or more points. He had a career-high 25 points against Connecticut in December.
The Eagles’ real showstopper was senior Dallas Gary, who continued his strong play off the bench. Gary contributed 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting. He is averaging 15.8 points and 5.3 rebounds in his last four games for Coppin State.
Three of his baskets shook the PEC to its core and brought fans out of their seats. His first hoop capped an amazing end-to-end sequence for Gary, which started when he blocked shot and concluded with him scoring a layup that pumped some life into the Arena.
Gary’s next hoop – a breakaway dunk late in the first half woke the crowd up.
However, his second dunk – an alley-oop — off of a nice pass from Sterling Smith fired the Coppin State fans up. Gary’s dunk was the centerpiece of the Eagles 9-0 burst over a three-minute period late in the second half that finally subdued the feisty Bears.
His dunk, which was followed by an acrobatic layup from Shomari Triggs helped the Eagles earn their first win over Morgan State since 2012.
Smith added 12 points and seven rebounds. Senior guard Taariq Cephas had another splendid all-around game with 10 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Cephas moved past Tywain McKee and into second place on the Coppin State all-time assist chart. He has 407 dimes in his career.
Even though Coppin State opened a 17-point second half lead, Morgan State battled back behind Blake Bozeman (20 points) and Cedric Blossom (13 points, 10 rebounds). The Bears closed to within five points on two occasions: 61-56 with 7:17 remaining following a Rasean Simpson basket and 65-60 with 5:51 left after a Bozeman 3-pointer.