Photo: Coppin State Athletics

NORFOLK, Va. – Nendah Tarke hit a mid-range jumper with 0.2 seconds remaining to lift the seventh-seeded Coppin State men’s basketball team to a 59-57 victory over No.2 Howard in the MEAC quarterfinals on Wednesday night at Scope Arena.

A redshirt freshman from Gaithersburg, Md., Tarke received the ball just in front of halfcourt and took his man one-on-one to just beyond the free-throw line where he rattled home the Nation’s leading fourth-game winning shot of the season. Howard’s desperation pass was also stolen by Tarke, the Nation’s leader in steals per game, which gave him 91 steals on the season to match a CSU single-season record during the NCAA era.

Tarke, a First Team All-MEAC selection, finished the night with 15 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and four steals.

Kyle Cardaci matched Tarke with 15 points as he made four 3-pointers on five attempts. Jesse Zarzuela, Justin Steers and Mike Hood all finished with eight points each.

Coppin outshot Howard, 39.3% to 29.5%, but the Bison outrebounded the Eagles, 51-28, to stay in the contest. The Bison also had 21 offensive rebounds which led to 14 second-chance points. The Eagles also forced 23 turnovers which converted to 21 points off turnovers.

The Eagles led virtually the entire game despite Howard scoring the first two points of the game. Tarke answered the opening bucket with a dunk, and after another Bison jumper, Zarzuela buried a jumper and nailed a three to give the Eagles a 7-4 lead.

Howard cut the deficit to a single point before Coppin went on a 13-1 run to take a commanding 20-7 advantage with 12:56 left in the first half. The Bison fought back to within four points with just under four minutes to go, but Tarke went coast-to-coast for a dunk and Rojas hit a layup inside to give the Eagles a 30-24 halftime lead.

Coppin led by as many as 47-38 in the second half after a three by Rojas with 11:04 remaining, but the Bison clawed their way back to tie the score at 50 with 6:22 to play. Cardaci responded with a three, but Howard stayed right there and tied the score at 57-57 with 18 seconds left following a free throw.

Courtesy: Coppin State Athletics 



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