BALTIMORE, Md. – Sam Sessoms made five three-point field goals and scored 24 points to help Coppin State (2-2) hold off a late rally by the Navy (2-1) basketball team and record a 75-68 victory, Monday night at the Physical Education Complex Arena in Baltimore.
“Individually, we did not perform the way we had been,” said Navy head coach Ed DeChellis. “I thought this was going to be a tough game. They (Coppin State) have guys who can score, guys who can shoot, they are older, too. We knew we were going to be in for a tough game. We just didn’t respond the way we needed to.”
Coppin State led Navy by just one point at 17-16 before opening up a 31-18 lead with 9:56 left until halftime. The Eagles made four layups during their run as they were able to either beat the Mids down the floor or find a way to slice through the Navy defense in a halfcourt set.
“We started off real slow,” said DeChellis. “We turned the ball over the first two times we had it. Foul trouble really hurt us early.”
The teams went into halftime with Coppin State leading 41-32. The field goals made and three-point field goals made totals were nearly identical for the teams in the half. The difference came at the foul line: Coppin State was 8-11 and Navy was 1-3. Two of Coppin State’s three misses from the line were rebounded by the Eagles.
Navy’s Christian Jones (Sr., Bowie, Md.) entered the game with 20 career points in 15 games. He totaled 11 points in the first half this evening.
The pace was more to Navy’s preference at the start of the second half, and the Mids took advantage by closing to within four points at 45-41 after five minutes.
Whereas Navy gradually stacked points together over a period of time, Coppin State was able to score in a flurry. Such was case over the ensuing few minutes when the Eagles drained four three-point field goals – all from well beyond the arc – to extend their advantage out to 54-41 with 12:44 left on the clock.
The margin again was 13 points at 64-51 with 6:17 showing on the clock. Navy soon closed to within five points at 64-59 with just under five minutes remaining. The Mids would have three possessions in a row to cut into the deficit more, but missed field goal attempts each time. Coppin State eventually scored, then regained an eight-point lead at 69-61 with 81 seconds showing on the clock.
After an additional 30 seconds of play, the score was 69-66 following a jumper by Jones and a triple by Sean Yoder (Sr., Dublin, Pa.). The Mids fouled Sessoms with 48 seconds left, and he missed the front end of the bonus. Navy hurried the ball down the court but came away without a shot as Austin Inge (Jr., Greensboro, N.C.) was whistled for an illegal screen 30 feet from the basket. Forced to foul again, Navy sent Sessoms back to the line and he made both attempts on this trip with 38 seconds left.
The Eagles would go 4-4 from the foul line over the rest of the game to seal the decision.
“I thought we played better in the second half and had a chance,” said DeChellis. “We never could get the big stop we needed to, or score the big basket.”
Navy ended the game with 12 three-point field goals and 25 baskets in all to better the Coppin State totals of 10 and 23, respectively. The foul line told the take of the game as the Eagles were 19-25 from the stripe and the Mids were 6-12.
Tyler Nelson’s (Sr., Monroe, N.C.) 21 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals paced the Mids in each of the four statistical categories. Jones chipped in four triples and 17 points and Kam Summers (So., Ocoee, Fla.) added 10 points.
Navy will be back home this weekend for games Friday against UC San Diego and Sunday against Youngstown State.