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Balanced effort gives Norfolk State 80-66 win over Coppin State

norfolk stateFive players scored in double figures, all between 12 and 14 points, and the Norfolk State men’s basketball team secured an 80-66 win over Coppin State on Saturday afternoon at the Physical Education Complex.

NSU shot 60 percent in the second half and 53 percent for the game. The Spartans never trailed in the contest as they improved to 3-0 in the MEAC and 8-10 overall. They are now just one of three teams undefeated in the league along with North Carolina A&T and North Carolina Central (both 2-0).

It was a balanced effort for the Spartans, who led by nine at the half and by at least 11 throughout the second. Senior Jordan Butler and junior Steven Whitley each had 14 points as they combined to hit 11-of-18 from the floor. Butler nearly completed the double-double with nine rebounds while adding a pair of assists and steals.

Senior Derrik Jamerson Jr. did finish with a double-double, tallying 13 points and 11 rebounds while hitting 3-of-6 from 3-point range. Junior Nic Thomas made 3-of-4 from deep for a 13-point game with three steals, and senior Alex Long finished with 12 points.

Thanks in part to Jamerson and Thomas, the Spartans shot 8-of-18 from 3-point range, part of a larger 28-of-53 shooting afternoon.

The Eagles hit a respectable 45 percent for the game but struggled from the 3-point line in the second half. CSU (2-16, 2-1 MEAC) also committed 17 turnovers, and NSU held a 23-14 advantage in points off turnovers.

The Spartans held an early 10-3 lead after Jamerson’s 3-pointer, and a trey by Thomas capped a 9-2 run a little later for a 24-12 lead 11 minutes into the contest. It marked their largest lead of the first half. But over the next four minutes, Coppin State scored the next 11 points of the game to get to within one with five minutes to go in the half.

NSU, however, outscored the Eagles 12-4 over the last four-plus minutes of the first period to go into the locker room up 36-27. CSU had 11 of its 17 turnovers in the first half.

The Spartans extended the lead to 14 at the start of the second half. Butler had a couple of buckets to make it a 16-point lead, 47-31, with exactly 16:00 to go in the game. The Eagles cut the deficit to 11 but had to call timeout after Jamerson’s trey off a turnover gave the Spartans an 18-point advantage with less than 12 minutes left.

The Spartans went ahead by 19 a minute later on Thomas’ trey, but the Eagles were slowly able to cut the deficit down to 11 with five and a half minutes left in the game. But 11 was as close as the Eagles got the rest of the way.

CSU shot 21-of-47 (44.7 percent) but just 2-of-12 from 3-point range in the second half (6-of-23 overall). Dejuan Clayton shot 7-of-15 from the floor, and 8-of-8 from the free throw line, for 23 points. Lamar Morgan tallied 13 points and seven rebounds, and Nigel Marshall finished with 10 points.

The Eagles made 18-of-25 from the free throw line, while NSU was 10-of-11 in the second half and 16-of-19 for the contest.

Sophomore Mastadi Pitt had seven points and a career-high seven assists.

NSU returns home to host Bethune-Cookman, picked first in the preseason poll, on Monday night at Joseph Echols Hall.