By Andrew Clausen -
Georgia Tech men's basketball and Coppin State will battle for the first time in program history on Dec. 27 in McCamish Pavillion. The Yellow Jackets will close out the nonconference portion of their schedule against the Eagles before beginning Atlantic Coast Conference action three days later.
Location: Baltimore, Md.
Conference: Mid-Eastern Athletic
Home arena: Physical Education Complex (4,100)
2016-17 Record: 8-24 overall, 7-9 in MEAC (t-7th)
Post-Season: lost to Howard in first round of MEAC Tournament, 79-73
All-time series record: First Meeting
Head coach: Juan Dixon (First Season)
Starters returning/lost: 2/3
Top scorer returning: Dejuan Clayton (12.4)
Top rebounder returning: Blake Simpson (4.0)
Quick preview for 2017-18
First-year head coach Juan Dixon will have his work cut out for him as he tries to turn around the 8-24 Eagles. Coppin State will look to employ pace and three-pointers as it looks to use Dixon’s pro-style offense. MEAC all-rookie Dejuan Clayton returns and joins senior Tre’ Thomas in the backcourt on the new-look team. Where the Eagles will struggle is in finding replacements for big men Chas Brown and Terry Harris, Jr. Blake Simpson returns as the top rebounder from last season with just 4.0 boards per game. CSU’s schedule will test the team, as they face Oregon, East Carolina, Cincinnati, Rutgers, Georgetown, Navy, UConn, West Virginia and Georgia Tech to start the season.
Quick recap of 2016-17
Coppin State struggled in a competitive MEAC league and was unable to find much of a rhythm to get back on track. The Eagles didn’t pick up their first victory until a month into the season when they were able to knock off Goldey-Beacom College, 89-83. CSU’s nonconference schedule was a competitive one, as they faced Clemson, Georgetown, BYU and Utah. The bright spot in the season was the performances of young talent like MEAC all-rookie Dejaun Clayton. In just his first year, Clayton averaged 12.4 points per game – 0.2 points per game less than their leading scorer.
Greatest Program Accomplishment
In the 1975-76 season, Coppin State won its lone NAIA National Championship. Downing Dowling by a considerable 78-55 margin, the Eagles then went on to edge Wisconsin-Parkside, 68-67. CSU would then make easy work of Texas Southern before grabbing another one-point victory over Marymount before winning the championship game over Henderson State.
Greatest Player in Program History
One of the key components to the NAIA National Championship 1975-76 runs was Joe Pace. One of the greatest players in Coppin State history, he ranks ninth all-time in the career points, but second among those who playing just two seasons. Pace holds the top points per game mark at 22.3 as he helped lead the Eagles to a 30-game win streak and 39-2 overall record in ’75-’76. He scored the second-most points (43) against Henderson State in the NAIA championship game, just a month after setting the rebounding record with 32 boards. After just two years with CSU, Pace was selected in the second round of the 1976 NBA Draft to the Washington Bullets. He went on to play there for two years before finishing his career overseas, but not before seizing a ring in 1978 with Washington.
Place to visit on campus or in the city
One of the most popular attractions in Baltimore is its Museum of Art situated in Charles Village. The largest art museum in Maryland, currently containing more than 90,000 art pieces, the museum is home to extensive Matisse, Picasso and Andy Warhol collections. Tourists and locals alike have been known to spend hours in the museum and at its restaurant located inside, Gertrude's.