NORFOLK, Va. – After dropping its first conference game in almost two years, the Norfolk State men’s basketball team will look to get back on track on Monday night as the Spartans host Coppin State at 8 p.m. at Joseph Echols Hall on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Media Coverage: Fans can listen to the game and watch the live video stream at the same time with the Spartan Showcase Video Streaming portal. Live stats will be available as well here.
Series History: NSU owns a 21-11 lead in the all-time series with Coppin State. The Spartans have won two in a row and eight of the last 10. NSU won both meetings last year, 75-68 at home and 80-70 up in Baltimore. Each of the last 14 meetings has been decided by 10 points or less.
About Coppin State: The Eagles own a 6-11 overall record and a 3-1 mark in conference play after downing Hampton 71-68 on Saturday. They also defeated Delaware State and South Carolina State this year while dropping a contest against league-leading Savannah State. Michael Murray leads the way with 15.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Andre Armstrong ranks second with 12.0 points, while teammate Sterling Smith also scores in double figures with 10.4. Taariq Cephis contributes 9.5 points and 4.1 assists. Opponents shoot 48 percent from the field and 38 percent from 3-point range, but the Eagles do a good job of getting to the free throw line and converting, hitting 74.4 percent from the charity stripe.
Last Time Out: Morgan State had a big edge in points off turnovers and second-chance points in defeating NSU 87-70 on Saturday at Echols Hall. The loss snapped NSU’s 23-game regular season conference win streak and also broke a six-game win streak against the Bears. Justin Black had 24 points, eight rebounds and five assists, while Anthony Hubbard added 22 points, nine rebounds and four assists for MSU. The Bears outscored the Spartans 29-7 in points off turnovers, as NSU had twice as many giveaways as MSU (18-9). Pendarvis Williams and Malcolm Hawkins added 16 and 15 points, respectively.
Back in the Fold: RaShid Gaston competed in his first game in nearly two months when he played 20 minutes and totaled four points and two rebounds at Delaware State. He missed 13 games due to a torn meniscus and a partial tear of his ACL in his left knee suffered during practice on Nov. 17. Zieyik Estime, meanwhile, missed three games as well from Jan. 3-13 due to an ankle sprain.
Senior Leadership: NSU has scored 1,394 points this year, with 1142 of those points (81.9 percent) coming from NSU’s eight-player senior class.
Spartans in the MEAC: NSU is 4-1 this year in the MEAC and 33-4 since the start of the 2011-12 season.
Don’t Foul ‘Em: Malcolm Hawkins and Pendarvis Williams have been on fire from the charity stripe lately. Hawkins has hit 45-of-49 from the free throw line over his last 10 games, while Williams has connected on 39-of-43 in the last 11 games. Hawkins had made 24 straight free throws before a miss at DSU, while Williams was 8-of-8 at UMES, including 4-of-4 in the last 20 seconds of the game. Hawkins, meanwhile, hit 5-of-6 in the last minute at DSU.
As a team, the Spartans are connecting on 71.5 percent from the foul line this year. Only once in the previous 30 years has NSU hit better than 70 percent from the free throw line in a season (72.0 percent, 2003-04). The all-time program record is 72.3 percent set in 1968-69.
Williams (83.9 percent) and Hawkins (83.8) are ahead of the program’s individual Division I record of 83.3 set by Ryan Grier in 2003-04. The all-time NSU record is 85.6 percent set by David Donerlson in 1991-92.
Rare Company: Pendarvis Williams is one of five all-time NSU players with at least 1,400 points, 400 rebounds, 200 assists and 100 steals along with Ralph Tally, Barry Mitchell, Tony Murphy and Michael Deloach. Williams needs 41 more rebounds to reach 500 for his career, and should he reach that mark he will join Tally and Mitchell as the only players to reach 1,400 points, 500 rebounds, 200 assists and 100 steals.
Dominating the Inside: Norfolk State has outscored opponents 660-517 in points in the paint, an average of 7.9 points per game. Against East Carolina, the Spartans had a 50-16 edge in points in the paint, and against Stillman that margin was 62-26. On the flip side, opponents have taken 114 more 3-pointers than NSU this year.
The Hawk: Senior Malcolm Hawkins has scored in double figures in every full game he’s played this year (He played only the second half at Delaware State). He had his fifth 20-point game of the year against Seattle with 22 points. His 16.7 per-game average currently ranks as the seventh-best in the Division I era (1997-Present) behind three players – Michael Deloach, Damian Woolfolk and Tony Murphy – who each became 1,700 career point scorers at NSU.
Taking Care of the Ball: NSU has had fewer turnovers than its opponent in 10 of the last 15 games.
Increased Production: Starting guard Jamel Fuentes has posted 8.8 points on 12-of-25 shooting with 4.3 rebounds and 6.5 assists in the last four games. He has also had at least four assists in the last 10 games. After scoring just six points all year, Kievyn Lila-St. Rose added a career-high 13 points on 4-of-6 shooting at UMES when NSU was down to just nine active players. Lila-St. Rose is averaging 6.0 points in the last four games.
Brandon Goode tallied 12.5 points on 21-of-31 field goals in four games from Dec. 30-Jan. 13. He has scored in double figures in 11 of the last 14 and is shooting 19-of-26 from the field over the last four games.
Hot Hands: Jamel Fuentes has a 61-19 assist-turnover ratio over his last 10 games.
MEAC Rankings: Several NSU players rank in the top 5 in the league, including Malcolm Hawkins, who ranks first in the league in 3-point shooting percentage (41.9). Other top 5 performances include Brandon Goode (2nd – 61.9 field goal percentage; 5th – 2.5 blocks, 6.8 rebounds), Jamel Fuentes (1st – 2.8 assist-turnover ratio; 2nd – 5.7 assists), Pendarvis Williams (5th – 83.9 free throw percentage) and Hawkins (4th – 40.0 3-point field goal percentage).
As a team, NSU ranks first in scoring offense (77.4), field goal percentage (49.0), 3-point field goal percentage (35.6) and opponent rebounding (32.7). The Spartans also stand second in assists (14.4), assist-turnover ratio (1.2) and offensive rebound percentage (36.0) and third in scoring margin (+0.6), free throw percentage (71.5), rebounding margin (+1.8) and defensive rebound percentage (66.0).
Hot Shooting: Thanks to a 35-of-53 effort over a five-game stretch from Nov. 26-Dec. 15, Pendarvis Williams is now currently shooting 50.2 percent (102-of-203) from the floor this year, including 62.4 percent (68-of-109) from inside the arc.
Brandon Goode, Riley Maye and RaShid Gaston, meanwhile, have combined to hit 149-of-244 (61.1 percent) from the floor this year. Maye and Anell Alexis have hit a combined 20-of-45 (44.4 percent) from 3-point range as well.
As a team, the Spartans are shooting 49.0 percent from the floor and 35.6 percent from 3-point range this year, the best marks in a season since 1994-95 (49.5 percent) and 1998-99 (35.7 percent), respectively.
Scoring Offense: NSU’s is scoring 77.4 points per game this year, the highest scoring season since averaging 86.3 per game in 1998-99.
Beginning the Climb: Sitting at No. 21 right now in the all-time scoring list at NSU with 1,402, Pendarvis Williams needs two more points to reach 20th all-time. From there he would need more than 130 points to get to the next spot.
Jamel Fuentes now has 353 career assists, which ranks eighth all-time at NSU. He needs six more to reach seventh place.