GAME NOTES: The first round of the Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference Tournament continues on Tuesday afternoon, as the ninth-seeded Coppin State Eagles tangle with the eighth-seeded Bethune-Cookman Wildcats at Norfolk Scope Arena.
The winner will advance to the quarterfinals on Wednesday to face off against No. 1 seed Norfolk State.
Coppin State's season has been far from impressive, as it has gone just 8-23 overall and finished the MEAC campaign at 5-11, but it is carrying some momentum into this tournament, as it won three of its final four games to close out the regular season.
Bethune-Cookman has only been slightly better than Coppin State this season at 12-19 overall and 7-9 in conference, and it is trending in the opposite direction with three consecutive losses. The Wildcats have advanced to the semifinals in this tournament in two straight years, including a championship game appearance in 2012.
Coppin State has dominated the all-time series with Bethune-Cookman, 45-11, which includes a 69-61 triumph in each team's regular-season finale in Baltimore on March 7. The Eagles carried a seven-point lead into halftime and never trailed after that, shooting 45.3 percent from the field on the night. Michael Murray stuffed the stat sheet for the victors with 16 points, 14 rebounds and five assists. Andre Armstrong had 15 points, Collin Johnson chipped in 14 points, and Taariq Cephas added nine points, seven assists and five rebounds. As for the Wildcats, Kevin Dukes led all scorers with 18 points, Adrien Coleman poured in 15 points, and Javoris Bryant tallied a double-double with 12 points and 11 boards.
On the season, Coppin State has not been impressive at either end of the floor, scoring just 63.1 ppg while surrendering more than 70 ppg. Murray is one of the MEAC's top forwards, putting up 12.3 ppg and 9.0 rpg. Armstrong nets 11.8 ppg while ranking second in the league in 3-pointers made (70), and Patrick Cole also puts up double figures with 10.3 ppg.
Meanwhile, Bethune-Cookman also has difficulty stopping foes from scoring, allowing 67.4 ppg, but it benefits from having the league's fourth-ranked scoring offense (66.2 ppg). The Wildcats' are led by All-MEAC First Team selection Coleman, who is the conference's top scorer with 17.6 ppg on greater than 54 percent efficiency from the field, adding 7.1 rpg, 2.9 apg and 1.4 spg for good measure. Dukes is a solid complementary piece with 10.5 ppg.
Despite Bethune-Cookman owning the better record, Coppin State has been the better team in recent weeks and proved to have the Wildcats' number in the regular-season finale, which gives it a leg up in this first round matchup.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Coppin State 65, Bethune-Cookman 62
03/12 10:32:20 ET
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