N.C. Central men rock visiting Coppin State
More than half the shots N.C. Central put up against Coppin State went in Saturday.
“We felt that we could try to contain their penetration,” Coppin State coach Fang Mitchell said.
NCCU (13-5, 4-1 MEAC) scored 42 points in the paint and won 87-63 in McDougald-McLendon Gymnasium.
“We tried to make sure we didn’t give up easy baskets,” Mitchell said. “It was a total failure in that aspect of it.”
Coppin State (6-13, 3-3 MEAC) shot 38.5 percent in the first half. That’s when NCCU coach LeVelle Moton said his team wasn’t hitting on much defensively.
Moton said he lit into NCCU point guard Emanuel Chapman a bit because he wasn’t showing senior leadership on the defensive end of the floor.
NCCU senior Alfonzo Houston (10 points) said his team locked down in the second half.
“We turned it up on defense,” Houston said. “Once we turn that up, everything clicks.”
NCCU’s Dante Holmes said, “We picked the defensive intensity up and got us in transition, got some easy points”
Coppin State made runs to keep the game within reach, but NCCU kept finding another gear that it would use to accelerate just a little bit more before finally pulling away.
“Winning basketball games, that’s not a lifetime membership,” Moton said. “You’ve got to pay your dues every single night, and nobody gets in this club for free. You’ve got to pay to get in here in the club called winning. If we want to be in there, we’ve got to pay our dues.”
Two 3-pointers from NCCU hybrid guard Jordan Parks (12 points, 5 rebounds) showed that he can do more than slash to the basket and dunk.
NCCU forward Karamo Jawara (6-8, 220) looked like former Los Angeles Lakers point guard Magic Johnson when he led a fast break, putting the ball on the floor and bouncing it behind his back before finishing strong yet with finesse.
Jawara also blocked two shots and had a steal.
NCCU’s Jeremy Ingram led all scorers with 24 points, but his defense (3 blocks, 2 steals) is what Moton wanted to talk about after the game.
Ingram began the season on a blistering scoring pace before his shot dried up. The senior guard from Charlotte appears to have regained both his stroke and his moxie. He had 18 points at halftime and with just one foul didn’t have to concern himself with reservations about being in attack mode during the final 20 minutes against Coppin State.
“To me, as a shooter, I never thought I was in a slump. I was just missing shots,” Ingram said.
During that stretch when Ingram was struggling with his shot, he was hardly getting to the free-throw line. Against Coppin State, he was 9 of 9 from the charity stripe, a byproduct of his controlled aggression.
Moton said Ingram was in a slump, but his offense returned when he focused on his defense.
“Did you see how he defended (against Coppin State)?” Moton said. “See, when you defend, good things happen. He wasn’t defending like that in his slump. He was going to the other end pouting about a shot not going in down here offensively. You can’t control that basketball, man. It comes and goes. Ask Kevin Durant. Sometimes he ain’t got it. The best in the world, sometimes they just don’t have it. But that doesn’t mean you check out defensively.
“That just takes heart, and he’s doing that and it becomes infectious for our team.”
Coppin State started the game in a zone, but Chapman didn’t care anything about that, finding ways to find his teammates.
“I say it repetitively, he’s a chemist with that ball,” Ingram said about Chapman. “He gets that ball through seams that you wouldn’t think he would be able to get it through. He finds people that are not even there — like, they don’t even know that they’re there. The ball just lands in their hands, and they put it in the basket. He can score the ball, as well. A lot of people may not know that.”
Chapman, NCCU’s all-time assist leader with 528, had 14 points, six rebounds and three blocks to go with his seven assists against Coppin State.
|NC CENTRAL 87, COPPIN ST. 63|
Percentages: FG .333, FT .789.
3-Point Goals: 8-24, .333 (Murray 3-8, Armstrong 2-7, Fripp 1-1, Smith 1-4, Cephas 1-4).
Team Rebounds: 1.
Blocked Shots: 3 (St. Louis, Fripp, Smith).
Turnovers: 10 (Brickhouse 2, Cephas 2, Armstrong 2, Kessee 2, Smith, Murray).
Steals: 5 (Cephas 3, Armstrong, Murray).
Technical Fouls: None.
Percentages: FG .516, FT .875.
3-Point Goals: 9-16, .563 (Ingram 3-6, Holmes 2-2, Parks 2-2, Chapman 2-4, Galaya 0-1, Groves 0-1).
Team Rebounds: 4.
Blocked Shots: 9 (Ingram 3, Chapman 3, Jawara 2, Holmes).
Turnovers: 11 (Copeland 3, Chapman 3, Parks 2, Jawara, Groves, Ingram).
Steals: 7 (Ingram 2, Groves 2, Jawara, Holmes, Copeland).
Technical Fouls: None.
Officials_Jackie Sanders, Kyle Neve, Quintin Murphy.