Sunday, February 21, 2016

NSU Hosts Coppin State on ESPNU Monday Night

NORFOLK, Virginia  --  Norfolk State makes its lone ESPNU appearance of the MEAC regular season on Monday when the Spartan men's basketball team takes on Coppin State at home at Joseph Echols Hall. Tip-off is slated for an official 9:05 p.m. start.

The first of four final regular season games finds NSU needing a win to control its destiny for the No. 1 seed in the MEAC tournament. At 9-3, NSU finds itself in third place and one game back in the loss column from league leader Hampton (10-2). South Carolina State (10-3) sits in second place.

Despite a loss in its last game, NSU has still won seven of its past nine.

Norfolk State Men's Basketball
NSU vs. Coppin StateMonday, Feb. 229 p.m.Joseph Echols Hall
TV: ESPNU | Watch ESPNLive Stats
Radio: Star 1310 AM | Live Audio; Hot 91.1 FM | Live AudioGame Notes

Media Coverage
Jason Benetti and Stan Lewter will have the call on ESPNU, NSU's second appearance of the season on the channel. Fans can also view the game through the WatchESPN app.

The game will also be broadcast live on Star 1310 AM as well as Hot 91.1 FM with Ross Gordon and Aaron Clark on the call. Live audio is available through as well as Both feeds are available on smartphones through the Star 1310 website or through or the TuneIn Radio App (search for "WNSB") for Hot 91.1.

Fans can also follow along with the live stats.

Series History
Norfolk State has won the last seven meetings with Coppin State, including the first meeting this year by an 88-56 score. CSU's last win came at Echols Hall on Jan. 30, 2012, a game in which NSU scored just 13 points in the first half but 69 in the second, ultimately falling to the Eagles, 87-82. The Spartans still lead the all-time series, 25-11.

About Coppin State
The Eagles are coming off a win last Thursday at home in a make-up contest from earlier this year. CSU downed North Carolina Central 71-60 to improve to 7-19 overall and 5-8 in the league. Three players score in double figures for a team that averages close to 71 but also gives nearly 81 points per game. Christian Kessee leads the way with 14.0 points, with Terry Harris (11.8 points, 7.1 rebounds) and Trevon Seymore (10.1 points, 3.8 assists) also providing offense. The Eagles shoot just 37.6 percent overall and 32.8 percent from long range, averaging 22.5 attempts per game. CSU has been outrebounded by 4.5 boards per contest and allow teams to shoot better than 47 percent from the field.

Last Time Out
NSU had a 17-point first-half lead but went nearly 10 minutes at the start of the second half without a field goal. Despite tying the game late and erasing what had been a nine-point deficit, the Spartans were unable to get past Delaware State in a 67-64 loss on Saturday. Jordan Butler tied the game with two free throws with 23 seconds left, but DSU's Devin Morgan drained a 3-pointer with just 5.7 seconds left for the win. D'Shon Taylor made a last-second shot from just inside the 3-point line, and then Morgan made two free throws after a technical foul for the final margin. Taylor and Jeff Short each had 15 points for NSU, which shot 50 percent in the first half but just 5-of-21 in the second half. Butler had 14 points, eight rebounds and six blocks. The Spartans last surrendered a 17-point lead two years ago in a setback to East Carolina.

MEAC Standings
Hampton (10-2), South Carolina State (10-3) and NSU (9-3) are in a tight battle for the top 3 spots in the league, including the more advantageous first and second spots in the MEAC tournament. The only other team in the MEAC with less than six losses is Bethune-Cookman (8-5). The top four seeds in this year's tournament will get byes into the quarterfinal.

Block Party
The Spartans set the school record with 17 blocks against Morgan State, surpassing the previous best of 13 set at Savannah State on Jan. 5, 2005. The team's 17 swats is tied with Houston Baptist for the most this season in a game in NCAA Division I. NSU has 24 blocks the last two games.

NSU ranks No. 34 in the nation with 5.1 blocks per game. The top four seasons in NSU history in terms of total blocks have all come within the last five years. The Spartans have averaged 161.0 blocks per season over those last five years and currently have 137 for this season.

Player Tidbits
Jeff Short
 • Averaging 16.8 points on 27-of-58 shooting and 2.0 assists last 5 games
 • Has 7 steals the last 2 games
 • Averaging 15.6 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists while shooting 46.5 % from the floor in league games
 • Ranks 6th in the MEAC in scoring (16.0), 7th in free throw % (80.5),  and 3-point field goal % (37.6) and 10th in 3-point field goals (2.2); Sits No. 164 in the nation in free throw % (80.5), 198 in points per game (16.0) and 212 in 3-point field goals per game (2.15)
 • Stands No. 118 in NCAA D-I in career scoring average (13.1) and 134 in points (1,247)
 • Ranks 2nd in NSU career records in free throw % (.814), 7th in 3-point field goals (125), 8th in 3-point field goal percentage (.386), 10th in 3-point field goal attempts (324), 16th in scoring average (17.8) and 34th in scoring (1,065)
 • Ranks 7th in a season in NSU's D-I history in free throw % (80.5) and 11th in scoring average (16.0) and 3-point field goals (56)
 • Has made a 3-pointer in 17 straight games

D'Shon Taylor
 • Has scored 12+ points in 11 of the last 12 games and is averaging 16.0 points and 5.5 rebounds last 6 games
 • Has 11 steals the last 6 games
 • Averaging 13.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists in league play while shooting 46.2 % overall and 39.1 % from the 3-point line
 • Ranks 11th in the MEAC in 3-point field goal % (36.6), 12th in field goal % (45.3) and 17th in scoring (12.7)
 • Ranks 13th in NSU career records in 3-point field goal % (.359) and 16th in 3-point field goals (84) and 3-point field goal attempts (234)

Charles Oliver
 • 22-of-24 from the free throw line the last 5 games
 • Averaging 13.3 points in league play while shooting 42.7 % from the floor, 39.4 % from 3-point range and 84.6 % from the free throw line
 • Ranks 4th in the MEAC in free throw % (83.1), 13th in 3-point field goals (1.9), 14th in 3-point field goal % (35.6) and 18th in scoring (12.5); Sits No. 94 in the nation in free throw % (83.1)
 • Stands 3rd in NSU D-I season records for free throw % (83.1) and 14th in 3-point field goals (52)

Zaynah Robinson
 • Averaging 10.3 points, 5.0 assists and 3.3 rebounds in the last 4 games
 • Averaging 7.7 points and 3.5 assists in league games while shooting 40.0 % overall, 40.6 % from 3-point range and 84.4 % from the free throw line
 • Has hit 30 of his last 34 free throw attempts
 • Ranks 1st in the MEAC in assist-turnover ratio (4.0), 4th in 3-point field goal % (40.8), 6th in steals (1.4) and 10th in assists (3.1); Stands No. 7 in the nation in assist-turnover ratio (4.00) and 202 in steals per game (1.41)

Jordan Butler
 • Averaging 12.4 points on 20-of-35 shooting with 8.8 rebounds and 3.8 blocks the last 5 games
 • Shot 12-of-16 from the free throw line at Delaware State, the most attempts by an NSU player since Corey Lyons had 18 on March 12, 2009; Has gone 19-of-25 from the line the last 2 games
 • Has 13 blocks the last 2 games; Tied career high with 7 blocks against Morgan State, tying the NSU D-I record shared by Kyle O'Quinn; Fell 1 short of tying the overall school record of 8
 • Averaging 7.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and 1.2 assists in league play while shooting 52.8 % from the floor and 76.0 % from the free throw line
 • Ranks 3rd in the MEAC in blocks (2.3), 8th in offensive rebounds (2.4), 9th in rebounding (6.9) and 11th in defensive rebounds (4.5); Also stands No. 30 in the nation in blocks (2.26), 174 in offensive rebounds (2.41) and 219 in rebounds (6.9)
 • Stands No. 45 in NCAA D-I in career blocks per game average (1.62)
 • Ranks 6th in NSU career records in blocks (97)
 • Also stands 5th in NSU D-I season records for blocks (61)

Alex Long
 • Averaging 8.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and 1.0 assists while shooting 59.1 % from the floor and 88.0 % from the free throw line in league play
 • Ranks 11th in the MEAC in blocks (1.0)
 • Has hit 24 of his last 27 free throw attempts

Preston Bungei
 • Averaging 5.3 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists in league play while shooting 51.3 % from the floor and 77.4 % from the free throw line
 • Ranks 12th in the MEAC in blocks (1.0)

Jonathan Wade
 • Averaging 7.3 points and 2.3 rebounds while shooting 43.5 % from the floor and 86.7 % from the free throw line in league play

Good from the Line
NSU, which ranked No. 282 in the nation last year in free throw percentage, has improved its mark from 65.9 to 77.3 percent this season, which currently ranks the Spartans fifth in the nation. NSU is attempting to hit better than 70 percent this year for the first time since the 2003-04 season and break the school record of 72.3 set in 1968-69.

On the year, the Spartans have shot 330-of-413 (79.9 percent) from the free throw line after intermission but just 168-of-233 (72.1 percent) beforehand. They have also hit 146-of-178 (82.0 percent) in the last five minutes and overtime of their games this year.

Good From Long Range
With 202 3-pointers this year, Norfolk State has set the school record for most makes in a season, surpassing the previous best of 198 set in 2011-12. NSU is hitting 35.9 percent from beyond the arc, just ahead of the school's Division I record of 35.7 percent set in 1998-99.

Big Win
NSU's 32-point victory over Coppin State in December marked the Spartans' biggest victory against a MEAC team as well as any Division I opponent. The previous best for a D-I opopnent was a 31-point victory (81-50) at Savannah State (then a D-I independent) on Jan. 5, 2005. The previous best against a MEAC opponent came on Jan. 16, 2006 in a 28-point win over Morgan State (81-53).

Up That Scoring
NSU is averaging 73.5 points per game this year, the most since the Spartans tallied 76.0 per game in 1999-2000.

Conference Streak
NSU has secured its 18th straight season this year with a .500 or better record in the MEAC. In fact, in Norfolk State's 61 seasons in a conference, the program has had just one losing conference record (9-10 in the CIAA in 1990-91).

NSU is tied with Wisconsin for eighth in the nation for the longest streak of .500-or-better conference records in a row in Division I (See table page 5). NSU has posted 23 straight .500 or better conference records, dating back to that 1990-91 campaign.

Limit Those Giveaways
The Spartans on the season are averaging 12.8 turnovers per contest. The school record for fewest giveaways per game is 13.1 set in 1987-88. NSU has also had as many or fewer turnovers than the opposition in 12 of the last 13 games. On the flip side, NSU is averaging 20.6 points off turnovers the last eight games.

Rackin' Up the Points
In five of NSU's wins this year in conference play, the Spartans have scored 99, 92, 88 (twice) and 87 points. In fact, NSU has scored at least 70 points in 11 of 12 MEAC games this year and is averaging a league-best 80.9 points and shooting 45.7 percent from the field, 34.9 percent from 3-point range and 77.8 percent from the charity stripe in conference games. The Spartans also have a 73-34 edge in blocks against MEAC teams this year.

MEAC Rankings
The Spartans continue to lead the league in 3-point field goal percentage (35.9) and free throw percentage (77.3) while also ranking second in scoring offense (73.5), field goal percentage defense (42.6), 3-pointers per game (7.5) and blocks (5.1) and third in scoring margin (-0.5), assists (12.1) and assist-turnover ratio (1.0).

Scoring Around the Basket
NSU is averaging 25.3 points in the paint this year but 33.2 in the last five games.

Winning Record
NSU is aiming for its fifth straight winning season. Prior to the start of that streak in 2011-12, NSU had a winning record just twice in 14 seasons since moving to Division I in 1997. The Spartans owned an 86-51 record over the previous four seasons, the best four-game stretch for the program since 1993-97 (94-26).

Best in the Conference
Since the start of the 2011-12 season, NSU is 61-15 in regular season conference play (29-8 at home, 32-7 on the road), just behind North Carolina Central (62-14) during that time for the best record in the league. Counting MEAC tournament games, the Spartans are 67-18, while the Eagles are 67-17 during that time. NSU also owns a 99-65 overall record since the start of the 2011-12 season, second in the conference to North Carolina Central (103-53).

Good from 3
Norfolk State has made a 3-pointer in 208 straight games, dating back to a contest at South Carolina State on Jan. 25, 2010, when NSU finished 0-of-17 from 3-point range.

Mike Bello, Asst. SID

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