HOOPS Preview: Notre Dame vs. Coppin State
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NOTRE DAME (9-3, 0-0 ACC) VS. COPPIN STATE (0-14, 0-0 MEAC)
Where: Purcell Pavilion (South Bend, Ind.)
Rankings: Both teams are unranked.
TV/Time: ACC Network Extra, 12 p.m. ET
Series Facts: The Irish lead the all-time series 1-0.
Last Meeting: Notre Dame 104-67 on November 19, 2014.
Notre Dame faces its final non-conference test this afternoon when the Irish host the Coppin State Eagles of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
The Irish are coming off their best offensive performance in a 100-74 blowout victory over Jacksonville, while Coppin State remains winless with only one contest within single-digits.
Blue & Gold Illustrated previews the matchup between the two programs before they meet in South Bend.
NOTRE DAME OVERVIEW
After a slow night offensively against Binghamton in the team’s first game without senior guard and captain Rex Pflueger, Notre Dame bounced back in a big way versus Jacksonville.
The Irish shot over 50 percent in both halves to finish with their highest point total for the season (100) while posting their best marks for field goal percentage (59.7 percent), three-point percentage (56.3 percent), three-pointers made (18) and 24 assists this season.
Sophomore wing D.J. Harvey and freshman guard Dane Goodwin led the way with 19 points each, which was a career-high for Goodwin, while junior guard T.J. Gibbs (18), junior forward John Mooney (16) and freshman forward Nate Laszewski (12) all added double-digit points in the blowout win.
Junior forward Juwan Durham added five points, six rebounds and five blocks in the win while junior wing Nik Djogo posted a season-high eight points.
It was a much-needed confidence boost for Mike Brey’s group following the loss of Pflueger, who was a key part to the flow of the offense with his ability to pass as well as score and rebound.
Though he scored five points, the starting lineup that included Durham — along with Mooney, Harvey, Gibbs and Prentiss Hubb — helped Notre Dame get out to a fast start and never looking back.
That will likely be the same group this afternoon as the Irish aim for a similar start to lead into conference play, which will begin on the road Jan. 1 against Virginia Tech. The more opportunities for Durham and Mooney together on the court the better for Notre Dame as the team will face bigger and longer teams in conference.
COPPIN STATE OVERVIEW
To say the 2018-2019 season has not been fun thus far for Coppin State would be quite the understatement.
The Eagles are 0-14 on the season and have lost by an average of 24.6 points in those contests.
Head coach Juan Dixon and company have played several tough opponents including Virginia (97-40), Wisconsin (85-63), Dayton (76-46), Houston (75-44) and Wofford (99-65), which would be quite the schedule for any program.
But, the Eagles were not competitive in any of those games and have lost by single-digits just once this year, which came to a 3-8 Tennessee State team, 64-55. Life won’t get any easier on the road this afternoon in South Bend.
Coppin State is averaging just 57.1 points coming into this matchup with the Irish while allowing 81.7 points defensively. The Eagles are hitting 35.5 percent of their shots overall and 24.9 percent of their three-point attempts. Not ideal. Almost 17 turnovers committed (16.6) doesn’t help the cause either.
Senior wing Lamar Morgan has led the way so far with 10.0 points serving as the team’s lone double-digit scorer. Junior guard Dejuan Clayton isn’t far behind at 9.8 points, but he did not play against Houston the last time out. The same can be said about Coppin State’s third leading scorer Justin Steers (6.9 PPG), a freshman wing.
Along with Morgan against the Cougars, guard Taqwain Drummond (5.7 PPG), forward Cedric Council (5.4 PPG, 4.8 RPG), forward Chad Andrews-Fulton (5.1 PPG, 4.3 RPG) and guard Lucian Brownlee (1.9 PPG) earned the start, respectively.
Freshman wing Nigel Marshall has been a solid contributor at 5.9 points while guards Kent Auslander (4.5 PPG) and Ibn Williams (4.1 PPG) provide the backcourt depth.
There isn’t a ton of analysis to provide in this matchup. Notre Dame has the clear talent advantage and should not face much of a challenge from the Eagles. Now, the focus will need to be there to avoid a similar start the Irish faced against Binghamton.
This matchup should provide the Irish plenty of chances to try different lineup combinations and continue giving valuable experience to the younger players on the roster.
Notre Dame 87, Coppin State 55
The only worry I could see in this one is the Irish coming out a little flat after a long break and the football playoff semifinal later in the afternoon. Even if that were to occur, Notre Dame should still cruise in this one and enter ACC play on a positive note.
Coppin State doesn’t shoot it well enough for this to be much of a contest.