Three games in the corridor from another MEAC Monday ...
The Eagles (4-14, 1-2 MEAC) direly needed to get on the board in conference play, especially with an unremarkable South Carolina State bunch in town.
Consider it done.
Coppin shot 52 percent in the first half and got four players into double figures in a 79-58 triumph. Now comes a four-game road swing that should help define the trajectory of the Eagles' season.
The Bison do not have a difficult problem to diagnose: They simply cannot score, even now that they're out of their early-season assortment of road games.
Howard (4-14, 1-3 MEAC) failed to reach the 50-point plateau for the fourth time in five games, dropping a 54-49 decision to Norfolk State.
The thing is, the score is actually a more favorable reflection of the proceedings than much of what unfolded.
Howard trailed 46-33 with 3:41 to play, only to close within four points in the closing minutes with a 16-7 burst. Yes, the Bison scored nearly half as many points in the last 3:04 than they did the rest of the game. That's something to build on --- especially against one of the best teams in the conference --- but a second-half surge will be difficult to create without steadier scoring.
NUMBER OF NOTE
Points for Savannah State guard Preston Blackman in the Tigers' 78-70 double-overtime victory at Morgan State. Blackman, who hit a pair of 3-pointers in the final minute of the first overtime and then drilled another 3 early in the second extra session, is the first MEAC player to score 40 points in a game since Howard's Eugene Myatt had 41 against Coppin State on Feb. 23, 2009.
Deron Powers had 16 points and 10 assists as Hampton (5-10) handled Quinnipiac 70-64 in a somewhat random January nonconference game. The Pirates have won three straight since a 2-10 start.
ON TAP TUESDAY
There's only 11 Division I games Tuesday, and just one involving a team from Maryland, Virginia or D.C. It just happens to have two such teams, with George Mason (9-7, 2-2 Colonial) playing host to James Madison (9-8, 3-1) in Fairfax. Comcast SportsNet has the 7 p.m. tip from the Patriot Center.
--- Patrick Stevens