BALTIMORE, Md. — After a downright grueling non-conference schedule, the Coppin State Eagles men's basketball team is finally settling down.
"We played a lot of tough teams, a lot of high-major, mid-major teams. I think we needed that just to get better. I feel like we are already battle-tested and we’re ready," said Eagles forward Tyree Corbett.
14 of the Eagles’ 16 games have been on the road. They’re coming off one of their two wins overall, Saturday's 74-65 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference victory at South Carolina State. Corbett had 23 points and 22 rebounds in the game.
"I think we are starting to get our groove," he said. "I think we are starting to really play good towards the conference."
"When it comes to rebounding and busting a ball out, I’ve never witnessed a forward do that as well as Tyree," said Eagles head coach Juan Dixon.
Corbett is one of four new starters for Dixon this season.
"We added a lot of shooters on this team. That’s one thing that we really wanted to focus on," said Dixon. "We want to play a certain style so you need certain personnel."
This weekend brings the biggest game of the season so far for Coppin (2-14, 1-0). They'll take a ride across town to visit rival Morgan State (6-7, 1-0).
Of course the last time Coppin and Morgan got together it was a pretty big deal. It was back in March in the MEAC Tournament semifinals. The Bears pulled the upset over the top-seeded Eagles. That outcome will add a little more juice to this weekend.
"We are up nine at halftime and they just came out and they just played tougher than us for the next 20 minutes," Dixon said about the 82-61 loss to Morgan in the conference tourney. "We got to play with a certain toughness against Morgan State on both ends of the floor. We got to do a good job of executing our game plan."
"They are our rival. So, it’s always heated between us. I think we should already have enough motivation as is, looking at last year and how we lost and we were up and they came back and beat us," said Eagles guard Nendah Tarke. "Knowing how they are and the rivalry we should already be motivated. We should be ready for them. I think we are ready for them."
Tip-off at Morgan on Saturday is set for 4:00 p.m.