The strength and stability of Coppin State is in its backcourt, where Nicholas King, Darryl Proctor and Raheem Scott form a trio of solid scorers. These three players are the only ones to have started all seven games for the Eagles this year.
King (6-7, 190 lbs.) averages 10.7 points per game, and is the team's leading scorer from three-point range. His height makes him a bit tougher to defend as a jump shooter on the perimeter, but he does not utilize that advantage on the inside much, as he prefers to play on the periphery of the offense. Conversely, Proctor (6-4, 230 lbs.) is a physical player who leads the team in rebounding (8.3 per game) and plays in the lane and close to the basket. He is also an excellent free throw shooter who nearly averages a double-double with 10.1 points per outing.
Scott, another solidly built guard (6-2, 215 lbs.), rounds out the trio as the most well-rounded performer. He runs the offense, can get off his shot from anywhere, and averages 9.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, and three assists per contest. Freshman Darryl Roberts (5-9, 155 lbs.) is the primary relief for the Eagles' good backcourt trio, scoring 7.7 points per game while logging more time than any of the forwards and centers on the roster.
The front court is much less settled, as four players have gotten at least one start this year. Senior Chad Yates (6-9, 220 lbs.) averages 4.7 points and 3.4 rebounds per game from his forward spot, while classmate Henry Colter (6-11, 210 lbs.) chips in with 3.3 points and 4.3 boards per contest. He has also recorded ten blocked shots on the season.
Massive Derek Daniels (6-7, 330 lbs.) provides a lot of bulk in the lane, but has had trouble handling the ball, recording 11 turnovers on the young season. Swingman Antwan Harrison (6-3, 215 lbs.) also provides backup time at both guard and forward, but is not much of an offensive threat.
This matchup looks more like a pair of defensive backs squaring off on the gridiron than it does point guards on the hardwood.
|Sat 2:00 p.m.|
WVU 5-0, 0-0
CS 2-5, 2-1
WVU - 58
CS - 206
Collins is a treat to watch anytime on the bottom of West Virginia's 1-3-1, although it's probably not much fun for him. He battles through screens and traffic like a subcompact zooming around SUVs during rush hour, but there's also more than a little bumper car in his mentality. In Scott, Collins might see his equal in terms of physical strength and resilience, so this is one battle that should be very entertaining.
Scott is CSU's leader in minutes played, a factor which could be an edge for Collins, who is splitting time with freshman Darris Nichols. In a physical matchup, Collins could be fresher at the end of the game, should the game come down to that point.
Both players also share spotty shooting statistics, but the big difference is that Collins doesn't have to score for the Mountaineers to be successful. His off-the-charts 8-1 assist to turnover average, combined with his excellent defense, makes him an all-around weapon that Scott will be hard-pressed to match.
Probably the best known member of the Coppin State program isn't a player. Head coach Ron "Fang" Mitchell achieved a good bit of notoriety for his unique nickname, but also for his molding of the Coppin State program into an NCAA tournament regular. CSU is a power in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, and isn't afraid to step out and play the big boys. The Eagles have already faced Texas, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Dayton this year, so they likely won't be intimidated coming into the Coliseum.
That said, the Eagles' woeful shooting to date has been the primary cause of their losses. Coppin State is hitting just 36% from the field, and barely 24% from three-point range. Granted, the Eagles have faces several tough opponents, which certainly affected their shooting percentages, but things haven't been much better in their three conference games to date. CSU is last in the MEAC in both stats, which doesn't bode well as they attempt to match up with West Virginia's solid shooting corps at the Coliseum.
After the mixed results (but still, a solid win) against St. Bonaventure, West Virginia will be looking to put a good performance in the books before breaking for first semester exams. Although they suffered just seven turnovers in the Bonnies, the man-to-man defensive pressure applied by them seems to take West Virginia out of rhythm at times, especially in their half-court sets. Look for a little more patience, and emphasis on running the offense through all of its options, on Saturday afternoon at the Coliseum.
West Virginia's point guards have recorded 28 assists against just five turnovers this year. While that ratio probably won't stay that high against the tougher competition to come, it is still a great indicator of how well Collins and Nichols have protected the ball.
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Although it seems like these things never pan out, one Coppin State stat has to have WVU's three-point sharpshooters warming up their shooting arms. The Eagles are allowing opponents to make 41.7% of their three-point attempts.
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Eagle sub Derek Daniels, who tips the scales at well over 300 pounds, lists Charles Barkley as his all-time favorite NBA player. Could there be a more perfect selection?
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The Mountaineers are within an eyelash of having six double-figure scorers on the roster. Patrick Beilein needs 13 points, while D'or Fischer needs 15, to move about the ten points per game mark. That would allow them to join Tyrone Sally, Mike Gansey, Kevin Pittsnogle and Joe Herber in the double-figure club.
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Vagaries of the RPI: West Virginia dropped 44 spots in the RPI after defeating St. Bonaventure.