Goode, Mount St. Mary's advance to matchup with UNCMar 19, 2008 - 4:11 AM DAYTON, Ohio (Ticker) -- Mount Saint Mary's set up a meeting with North Carolina.
Jeremy Goode scored 21 points as the Mountaineers posted a 69-60 victory over Coppin State in the opening-round game of the NCAA Tournament on Tuesday.
Chris Vann added 13 points for Mount Saint Mary's (19-14), which sealed a 16th seed in the main draw of the NCAAs and will face top-seeded North Carolina in the first round of the East Regional on Friday.
"We're very excited that we were able to pull off the victory," Mount Saint Mary's coach Milan Brown said. "I thought our guys played really hard, and I'm really proud of them being able to stick with our game plan."
It is the second trip to the main draw of the "Big Dance" for the Mountaineers, the tournament champion from the Northeast Conference. In 1999, Mount Saint Mary's faced top seed Michigan State, dropping a 76-53 decision.
Brown is in his fifth season as coach of the Mountaineers, taking over in 2003 when the legendary Jim Phelan retired after 49 years at the school.
Forced to play their way into the main draw this season, the Mountaineers took advantage of some shooting struggles by the Eagles down the stretch, pulling ahead, 64-57, with 1:25 remaining. Coppin State went scoreless for 5 1/2 minutes, missing eight straight shots.
"We definitely felt we were at the tournament," the senior guard Vann said. "We're still overwhelmed that we are in the game. It was a surprise to me. I've been watching this game on TV for years, and it surprised me how many people actually showed up to the game. It is a big game."
The first team to play in the NCAA Tournament with 20 losses, Coppin State (16-21) did get a 3-pointer from Julian Conyers to close within 64-60 with 54 seconds left, but Goode and freshman Jean Cajou combined for five free throws down the stretch for Mount Saint Mary's.
Tywain McKee scored 15 points on 6-of-17 shooting for the Eagles, who absorbed just their second loss in their last 14 games.
The Mountaineers struggled early, missing five of their first seven shots to fall behind, 15-7, with 5 1/2 minutes expired. They trailed by as many as nine points in the opening half before going into the intermission on a 13-5 run, slicing their deficit to 34-33.
Will Holland opened the second half with a 3-pointer, giving Mount Saint Mary's its first lead of the game, and Vann completed a three-point play with 38 seconds expired for a 39-34 advantage.
"That was the first time being down at halftime and winning the game, so we try to focus more on defense - not that we had a lack of concentration or anything in the first half - but I believe they shot maybe 53 percent in the first half, and we tried to cut down on that because we knew we were a better defensive team than that," Goode said.
Coppin State went back ahead at 47-44 on a 3-pointer by McKee with 13:26 left, but Mount Saint Mary's responded with a 10-1 run to take the lead for good.
The champion of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, Coppin State went 4-of-17 on 3-pointers.
- EAST REGION PLAY-IN
AT DAYTON OH
NCAA BB EAST REGION PLAY-IN
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
MT ST MARYS 33 36 69
COPPIN ST 34 26 60 FINAL
Mar 18 9:43 PM
- EAST REGION PLAY-IN
AT DAYTON OH
NCAA BB MT ST MARYS 33
COPPIN ST 34 HALFTIME
Mar 18 8:20 PM
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