NCCU Eagles Fly Past Coppin State
By JONATHAN DUREN
DURHAM, N.C. – North Carolina Central University rode a second-half wave to pick up its third consecutive Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference win with an 81-61 decision over Coppin State on Saturday, Jan. 13 at McDougald-McLendon Arena.
NCCU (9-8, 3-0 MEAC) actually found itself down early after CSU (1-18, 1-3 MEAC) opened up to a 9-2 lead over the first five minutes, but the maroon and gray rallied to take the lead and held it for the rest of the contest from the 11:35 mark onward.
The first half didn’t end without excitement, as Taqwain Drummond (Newport News, Va.) knocked down a buzzer-beater from beyond half court to make the score 34-26 in favor of the hosts at the intermission.
In the second half, NCCU really hit its stride as it led by as many as 26 at the 5:33 mark, leading by a score of 75-49 following a 15-3 run. Larry McKnight, Jr. (North Miami, Fla.) contributed 10 of his 15 points after the break with a career-high four steals as NCCU made its way to an 81-61 final.
Pablo Rivas (Colón, Panama) had a career night by notching a double-double with a game-high 23 points and 14 rebounds along with four three-pointers, and Alston Jones (Kansas City, Mo.) also hit a career-high with 16 points on 7-for-10 shooting. Reggie Gardner, Jr. (Bowie, Md.) also hit double-digits with 11 points and three assists, and Jordan Perkins (Greensboro, N.C.) dished out a game-high five assists with six points.
Cedric Council (Kennesaw, Ga.) led CSU with 14 points and seven rebounds, and Karonn Davis (Philadelphia, Pa.) followed with 11 points. Adam Traore (New York, N.Y.) had a complete game with six points and eight boards as well.