Fields’ Spark Helps Spartans Overcome Cold Shooting Day vs. Coppin State

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NORFOLK, Va. – The Norfolk State men’s basketball team overcame a cold shooting performance on Saturday, defeating South Carolina State 68-58 at Echols Hall.

After putting up a career-high 31 points in his last outing at Norfolk State’s home venue, Chris Fields Jr. led the Spartans on Saturday with 19 points, shooting 6-of-8 from the floor and 7-of-9 from the free throw line.

Tyrel Bladen scored in double figures for the second time this season, totaling 11 points and six rebounds. Christian Ings continued a stretch of consistency, posting 10 points and six rebounds at the guard position.

The Spartans could not convert from deep all afternoon, shooting 0-12 from behind the 3-point line, including an 0-8 showing in the first half. It marked just the second time since 2011 that Norfolk State has failed to make a 3-pointer in an entire game, the other being a 77-71 loss at Morgan State last year.

Coppin State opened the game with a 6-2 lead, but back-to-back inside scores by Kuluel Mading and Ings tied things up. Jamarii Thomas, who recorded three assists on Saturday, found Bladen for a thunderous slam as the Spartans began to pile on momentum.

Norfolk State’s advantage reached six points later in the first half, but a few minutes later a pair of jumpers helped Coppin State pull back within three. Fields earned multiple trips to the charity stripe in the final two minutes, knocking down four free throws to give the Spartans a 32-26 lead going into the second half.

Ings pulled down a rebound to start the second half, pushing down the floor to set up a dunk from Nyzaiah Chambers. The Spartans continued to attack the rim, capped off by a fastbreak dunk by Mading.

Bladen protected the rim with an emphatic block, leading to a jumper by Thomas at the other end to put NSU ahead 38-34. The Spartans built a seven-point lead after another successful shot from midrange by Thomas.

Coppin State stormed back from there with a 9-0 run, almost entirely powered by Ryan Archey. The freshman guard scored seven consecutive points, before Khali Horton knocked down a 3-pointer to give Coppin State its first lead since early in the first half.

The teams traded baskets as to seesaw on the scoreboard until Fields gave the Spartans some much-needed separation. The first-year forward knocked down a mid-range jumper, before stuffing down an and-one dunk to push Norfolk State ahead by seven.

The Spartans maintained that cushion the rest of the way. Fields knocked down another turnaround jumper, giving Norfolk State a strong eight-point advantage in the final minutes.

Checking The Box Score

  • Chris Fields Jr. led the Spartans with 19 points, shooting 6-of-8 from the free throw line
  • Tyrel Bladen scored 11 points, while Christian Ings added 10 points
  • Norfolk State shot 0-of-12 from the 3-point line, going 0-of-8 in the first half and 0-of-4 in the second half
  • Coppin State recorded 20 turnovers, while NSU recorded 16
  • The Spartans outscored CSU 40-20 in the paint
  • Saturday’s game had six lead changes and three ties
  • Norfolk State spent 31:29 with the lead, while Coppin State held the lead for 2:45

News & Notes

  • Norfolk State improved to 13-8 with the win, 3-1 in MEAC play
  • Coppin State dropped to 2-16 on the season, 1-3 in conference action
  • Saturday marked just the second time since 2011 that Norfolk State has failed to make a 3-pointer in an entire game, the other being a 77-71 loss at Morgan State last year
  • Norfolk State now leads the all-time series between the programs 40-15

UP NEXT

Norfolk State turns right around for another home conference matchup, facing Morgan State on Monday at 7:30 p.m. at Echols Hall. Morgan State improved to 6-14, 2-2 in the MEAC, with an 85-79 win over Howard on Saturday.

Source/Image: Norfolk State Athletics at nsuspartans.com.