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Second-half surge carries Coppin past UMES, 87-63
Coppin State broke away from a tenacious University of Maryland Eastern Shore during a three-minute spell in the second half and pulled away to an 87-63 triumph at the Coppin Center last night.
Coppin (6-8, 2-1) had threatened to open a gap on a couple of earlier occasions, but this time the Eagles made sure. Larry Stewart had two baskets and a free throw in a 9-2 burst that built a 52-40 lead with 13 minutes left.
When Larry McCollum made two foul shots with 9 minutes, 50 seconds left, it gave the home team a 57-45 lead, and the margin did not dip below that the rest of the way.
The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference victory by Coppin State was its 17th in a row at home (four this year) over three seasons and the ninth straight over UMES (3-10, 1-3).
Stewart, a 6-foot-8 forward, scored from practically every angle around the basket and finished with 27 points, his second-highest total of the season, and 15 rebounds. He averages 20 and 12, respectively.
The inside players for UMES did a good job of staying with the likes of seniors McCollum and Stewart for a while, but first-year coach Bob Hopkins admitted: "They got easier points than we did.
"We worked hard, but they got a lot of second shots and three-point plays. We're still working with a lot of young people."
That included two starters in the backcourt, sophomore Dondre Phoenix and freshman Shawn Johnson. In addition, the Hawks were without starter Darrick Purnell (Carver), suspended for the game after not returning with the team to Princess Anne after Saturday night's game at Morgan State.
The Hawks also lost senior guard Sean Salisbury (Southern-Anne Arundel) five minutes into the second half, when he leaped for a rebound, was bumped and landed on his back.
He told the trainer his lower back was numb, but there was feeling in both legs and he was able to hobble to the sideline. He was taken to Maryland General Hospital for X-rays and evaluation.
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Fittingly, UMES year ends in disappointment
NORFOLK, Va. -- The University of Maryland-Eastern Shore must wait another year for the rebirth of its basketball program.
The Hawks, who last had a winner in the 1970s, finished another desultory campaign last night, dropping an 81-71 decision to Bethune-Cookman in a preliminary game of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament. Fewer than 300 watched the game at the Norfolk Scope.
UMES finished with a 5-23 record, and first-year coach Bob Hopkins expected better from a group that won 10 games last season. Hopkins himself is serving an NCAA probation growing out of violations during his tenure at Grambling, and assistant coach Bobby Wilkerson has been responsible for the recruiting that they hope will turn things around in Princess Anne.
In addition to being his eyes, Wilkerson speaks for Hopkins, who is also barred from off-campus speaking engagements. The UMES administration, steering clear of any possible NCAA violations, includes post-game interviews in that interpretation.
"I'm very disappointed in a lot of things," Wilkerson said. "We have some good individual talent, but that doesn't make a team. These kids have never won."
The coaches have. Hopkins played and coached in the NBA, and had great success at Grambling before his problems there. Wilkerson has seen both ends of the Division I spectrum. He played for Indiana's unbeaten team in 1976, but is now the only assistant coach in a program ranked as the nation's fifth-worst.
"I'm the only assistant, and everyone else has three or four," Wilkerson said. "Half of my time has been spent recruiting. Bob [Hopkins] won't even be able to go off campus to sign recruits, and I'm going to have to do that, too."
Help is needed for a team that made 40.1 percent of its field goals and allowed opponents to shoot 50.9. On a typical night, the Hawks were outscored by more than 13 points.
Darrick Purnell, a sophomore swingman from Carver, ended up as the top scorer, even though he struggled through the second half of the season. Freshman guards Dondre Phoenix and Shawn Johnson made the MEAC All-Rookie team. The seniors kept the Hawks in it last night: Jose Sandoval, Robert Spear and Sean Salisbury scored 15, 14 and 14, respectively.
Athletic director Hallie Gregory is trying to turn around an entire athletic program, not just the men's basketball team, and he remains confident that Hopkins is the right man for the Hawks.
"This season was certainly not what I had hoped for," Gregory said. "I had hoped we'd be further along than we are now, but there were so many factors. They didn't get to do any recruiting for this team at all. Even I went out and got one of the freshmen [Johnson]."
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Hopkins, new talent look to put smile on UMES' changing face
Is it possible to put together a winning basketball team with six veterans, the fruits of two months recruiting and a player who missed last season because of Proposition 48?
Hallie Gregory, the athletic director at Maryland-Eastern Shore, didn't think so, but Bob Hopkins might prove him wrong.
Gregory hired Hopkins in July, despite the fact the new coach came with penalties assessed by the NCAA for recruiting violations during the 1988-89 season, Hopkins' last as head coach at Grambling. Among other restrictions, the NCAA said Hopkins couldn't recruit off campus for a year, couldn't recruit in Louisiana until 1994, and couldn't coach in the 1991 NCAA tournament, if UMES were to earn a berth.
That last penalty meant little to Gregory. UMES has not had a winning season since the mid-1970s. In 1988-89, the Hawks won one game. Last year, they improved to 10-17, but still shared last place in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference with Morgan State.
In August, less than two months after hiring Hopkins, Gregory said "we have a snowball's chance in July of winning the MEAC tournament." But he might change that assessment after watching UMES in its opener tomorrow against St. Francis, N.Y.
"The MEAC is totally foreign to me," Hopkins said, "but I certainly feel we can be one of the top three, four teams in the league. We can move up that far this year."
UMES was supposed to return nine players from last season, which ended with coach Steve Williams' contract not being renewed. But the team's most explosive guard flunked out of school, and Hopkins cut two other seniors. Swingman Robert Spear, point guard Sean Salisbury and sophomore Leland Kent are solid enough returnees, but the emphasis at Princess Anne is on the new faces.
The resumes of Hopkins and assistant coach Bobby Wilkerson include NCAA records at Grambling for the former and a title at Indiana for the latter. Hopkins played and coached in the NBA, and Wilkerson spent eight years in the pros. The talent they have lined up could surprise some people.
The power forward is Jamaine Colbert, a 6-foot-5, 230-pound freshman from Oxon Hill. One of the centers he'll be working with is Vinnie Huger, a 6-8 junior college transfer. He went to high school in Washington state, as did Hopkins' son Bobby, a transfer from Xavier University of Louisiana. Bobby Hopkins starred at Mercer Island High, the same school that sent Quin Snyder to Duke.
Spear's backup at shooting guard is Ray Moreland, a freshman from Detroit. Wilkerson was an assistant at Colorado last year, and Lonnell Gordon, one of the best guard prospects in Denver, also came east. Simon Edwards, who prepped at Towson Catholic, came back to Maryland after two years at Dawson (Mont.) Community College.
Hopkins also received a housewarming gift in the person of Darrick Purnell, a 6-5 sophomore with many skills. He showed flashes of brilliance when he was at Carver High, and sat out last year under Proposition 48 restrictions.
"He is the main man," Hopkins said. "Darrick is our best all-around player. I expect him to be our leading rebounder, and he handles the ball superbly. He can compete with anyone. He's one reason why we'll have an entertaining team.
"When you've been down as long as this program has, people expect you to stay there, but I'm impressed with the people we've got," Hopkins said.
UMES AT A GLANCE * Nickname: Hawks.
* Coach: Bob Hopkins (first year).
* 1989-90 record: 10-17.
* Returnees: Robert Spear, 6-5, Sr., G-F (14 ppg); Sean Salisbury, 5-10, Sr., G (10 ppg); Jose Sandoval, 6-6, Sr., F (7 ppg, 6 rpg); Michael Dabbs, 6-5, Jr., F; Leland Kent, 6-6, So., C-F; Ken Thoms, 6-3, So., G.
* Newcomers: Darrick Purnell, 6-5, So., F (sat out last year as Prop. 48); Bobby Hopkins, 6-2, So., G (transfer from Xavier, La.); Vinnie Huger, 6-8, Jr., C (transfer from Vancouver (Wash.) JC); Simon Edwards, 6-1, Jr., G (transfer from Dawson (Mont.) CC); Jamaine Colbert, 6-5, Fr., F-C; Lonnell Gordon, 5-10, Fr., G; Shawn Johnson, 6-2, Fr., G; Ray Moreland, 6-3, Fr., G; Dondre Phoenix, 6-1, Fr., G.
* Strengths: Hopkins' coaching experience and infusion of talent. There are enough players to incorporate the uptempo style he prefers.
* Weaknesses: Recent losing tradition. Hawks are lacking in size and strength inside.
UMES SCHEDULE Tomorrow -- St. Francis (N.Y.), 7:30
Nov. 26 -- at Morehead State, 7:30
Nov. 29 -- Brooklyn, 7:30
Dec. 1 -- at James Madison, 2
Dec. 3 -- at New Mexico, 7:30
Dec. 6 -- at Texas-El Paso, 7:30
Dec. 8 -- Morehead State, 7:30
Dec. 11 -- at St. Francis (N.Y.), 7:30
Dec. 13 -- Charleston, 7:30
Jan. 5 -- at Florida A&M, 7
Jan. 7 -- at Bethune-Cookman, 7:30
Jan. 12 -- at Morgan State, 7:30
Jan. 14 -- at Coppin State, 7:30
Jan. 19 -- S.C. State, 4
Jan. 21 -- N.C. A&T, 8
Jan. 24 -- Howard, 8
Jan. 26 -- Morgan State, 4
Jan. 29 -- Brooklyn, 8
Feb. 2 -- at S.C. State, 7:30
Feb. 4 -- at N.C. A&T, 7:30
Feb. 7 -- at Boston College, 7:30
Feb. 9 -- at Delaware State, 7:30
Feb. 13 -- at Howard, 8
Feb. 16 -- Florida A&M, 2
Feb. 18 -- Bethune-Cookman, 8
Feb. 21 -- Delaware State, 8
Feb. 23 -- Coppin State, 4
Feb. 28-March 2 -- MEAC tourney in Norfolk, TBA
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UMES tips off with lineup turnover Four Hawks starters likely to be transfers
When the University of Maryland Eastern Shore basketball team takes the court this season, none of the five top starters from last season will be back. And that's probably good, because the Hawks were 5-23 in 1990-91.
Coach Bob Hopkins is starting anew. He's doing it with five junior college transfers, four of whom are in the probable starting lineup. The only returning player who will start is shooting guard Simon Edwards. Only four players have Division I experience.
The toughest loss for the Hawks may be point guard Dondre Phoenix, who was on the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference all-rookie team last year. He was declared academically ineligible this season. That leaves Roderick Caine, a transfer from McCook (Neb.) College, at the point.
"We are really hurt in leadership," Hopkins said of his inexperienced team.
The Hawks, who finished last in the MEAC with a 3-13 record a year ago, also lost Shawn Johnson to academics. Leland Kent and Derrick Purnell, who started as juniors last season, were cut, Hopkins said.
What's back is a total of 12.4 points per game.
Hopkins' hope to lead his new team is small forward Marlin Kimbrew (22.2 ppg, 7.0 rebounds per game last season at the Community College of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh). Playing shooting guard, Kimbrew was an all-Western Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference selection last season. In 1989-90, he was the sixth man on Allegheny's national championship team.
"I would be very disappointed if he didn't score 20 or more a game for us," Hopkins said. "He can do it all. He's a good defensive player. He's Mr. Excitement. He's outside. He's inside. He hits three-pointers just like free throws."
Up front, the Hawks will have to improve their rebounding, Hopkins said. Last season's team finished seventh in the MEAC with a minus-five rebounding margin.
Hopkins is looking to junior-college forward Mike Harris (11.3 rpg at Camden County (N.J.) College) and center Lachland Richards, one of the top rebounders last season at Union County (N.J.) College, along with Kimbrew.
"Rebounding was our biggest weakness last year," Hopkins said. "We had a center weighing 185 pounds going against guys 225 inside."
Size should be no problem this year. Harris is 6-8, 220; Richards is 6-9, 230; and Kimbrew is 6-4, 215. The Hawks also have a freshman, Greg Hudgins, who is 6-6, 240.
But Hopkins, who until Aug. 1 was barred by the NCAA from off-campus recruiting because of rules violations while he was coach at Grambling, said defense is the biggest question for the Hawks this season.
"Defensively, we're not as far along as we'd like to be," he said. "Some of the young guys have a tendency to let the offensive man receive the ball and then play defense, rather than making it hard on him to get the ball
"We can score, but how well we can stop people is another question."
UMES at a glance
Coach: Bob Hopkins, second season (5-23)
1990-91 record: 5-23, 3-13 in MEAC
Home court: Tawes Gym, 2,000
Make tournament plans if: Marlin Kimbrew and Lachland Richards score 20 points a game, Mike Harris and Richards get 10 rebounds a game, everyone plays defense and the top teams in the MEAC fall apart.
.. .. .. .. .. .. .. RETURNEES Name .. .. .. .Class Pos. Ht. Wt. .. 1990-91 statistics
Simon Edwards .Sr. ..G .. 6-2 180 .. ..4.7 ppg, 1.0 apg
Lonnel Gordon .So. ..G .. 5-9 155 .. ..1.3 ppg, 1.0 rpg
Vincent Huger .Sr. ..F/C .6-9 215 .. .. .3.3 ppg, 2 rpg
Robert Hopkins Jr. ..F .. 6-2 192 3.1 ppg, 1 rpg, 1 apg
.. .. .. .. .. .. .. NEWCOMERS PTC Name .. .. .. .. .Class Pos. Ht. Wt. 1990-91 status
Ray Moreland .. ..Fr. ..F .. 6-3 175 .. .. .. .. .. .. .Redshirted at UMES
Mike Harris .. .. Jr. ..F .. 6-8 220 ..14.8 ppg, 11.3 rpg Camden (N.J.) JC
Cedrick Jenkins ..Jr. ..F .. 6-7 205 .. .. .. 13.7 ppg at Camden (N.J.) JC
Lachland Richards Jr. ..C .. 6-9 230 .. .good rebounder at Union (N.J.) JC
Roderick Caine .. Jr. ..G .. 6-1 175 .. .. .. 11.2 ppg at McCook (Neb.) JC
Marlin Kimbrew .. Jr. ..G/F .6-4 215 22.2 ppg, 7 rpg at Allegheny (Pa.) CC
Greg Hudgins .. ..Fr. ..G .. 6-6 240 .. .. .. .. .. .Millville (N.J.) H.S.
Michael Arnold .. Fr. ..G .. 5-11 na .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .DeMatha H.S.
Melvin Pringle .. Fr. ..G .. 5-6 .na .7.5 ppg, 5.0 apg at Polytechnic H.S.
.. .. .. .. .. .. .. SCHEDULE Nov. 23 at Iowa .. .. .. .. ..7 p.m.
Nov. 24 at Iowa State .. ..7:30 p.m.
Nov. 26 at Maryland .. .. .7:30 p.m.
Nov. 30 at Liberty .. .. ..7:30 p.m.
Dec. 2 at James Madison .. 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 11 Salisbury State .. 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 14 Liberty .. .. .. .. ..8 p.m.
Dec. 21 at Georgetown .. .. ..7 p.m.
Dec. 27 Holiday Tournament .. .. TBA
Dec. 28 Holiday Tournament .. .. TBA
Jan. 4 Florida A&M .. .. .. ..8 p.m.
Jan. 6 Bethune-Cookman .. .. .8 p.m.
Jan. 13 at Coppin State .. .. 8 p.m.
Jan. 18 at S.C. State .. .. ..8 p.m.
Jan. 20 at N.C. A&T .. .. .. .8 p.m.
Jan. 23 at Howard .. .. .. .. 8 p.m.
Jan. 25 Morgan State .. .. .. 8 p.m.
Jan. 28 Lincoln .. .. .. .. ..8 p.m.
Feb. 1 S.C. State .. .. .. .. 8 p.m.
Feb. 3 N.C. A&T .. .. .. .. ..8 p.m.
Feb. 8 Delaware State .. .. ..8 p.m.
Feb. 12 Howard .. .. .. .. .. 8 p.m.
Feb. 15 at Florida A&M .. .. .8 p.m.
Feb. 17 at Bethune-Cookman .. 8 p.m.
Feb. 22 Coppin State .. .. .. 4 p.m.
Feb. 25 at Delaware State .. .8 p.m.
Feb. 29 at Morgan State .. .. 8 p.m.
March 5-7 MEAC Tournament, Norfolk