This and That: Coppin ’22

Observations from last night’s 99-89, season opener for Georgetown that saw overtime. Their foe was Coppin State.


Although it’s germane to the score obviously, we are not talking about those kind of points. The point GUARDS battled and need to be examined.

Coppin State’s floor general, recent Penn State transfer Sam Sessoms, logged 16 points and 10 rebounds in a team-high 43-plus minutes. Add four steals and six turnovers to his totals.

In first half action, he put up seven points, three bounds, four steals and a pair of turnovers. That his giveaways ballooned is logical, given the intense attention Sessoms received during back stanza play.

“Yeah, I think it helped…alot” allowed head G’Town coach, Pat Ewing when asked about targeting Sessoms. He went on the notePrimo (Spears) was the primary guy that was guarding him. He did a great job on him. B-Murray took him a few times. We switched when Akok (Akok, 18 points, 12 rebounds) was in there at the five – we were switching one thru five. So we threw everything but the kitchen sink at him”.

Add multiple press schemes as well, including diamond action, trapping on the inbounds catch sometimes, hall court others, full court man plus more to what Ewing dialed up for Sessoms.

According to Spears, “we played great team defense in the second half”.

During the first 20 minutes, he did not fare well offensively, contributing six points, four rebounds, one assist and a trio of turnovers, on 1-7 shooting from the field. Spears’ second half was diametrically different, seeing him pour in 16 points, two rebounds, three helpers and a pair of cough-ups that period. During bonus session play, Spears added six points and a steal.

For those counting, that’s 28 points, six rebounds, four assists, five turnovers, and a steal, in over 43 minutes of action, including the entire second half and overtime, on 10-19 shooting. How did he turn it around, personally?

“Just finding my touch” said the recent sophomore transfer on his approach. “I haven’t played since March 9th, here (Capital One Arena hosted the A10 Tourney, which Spears participated in with Duquesne)…just find my touch.

“We went to B Murray (Brandon Murray, 18 points, six rebounds, four assists, four turnovers for the contest) and he was hitting shots. So just stay in the flow of the game and try and wear Sessoms down.

“And when my number was called at the end of the game – B Murray wasn’t hitting shots – and I just felt it was my turn”.

The numbers don’t lie, as Spears, over less than six minutes to close the game, dropped 17 points, including six consecutive shots and a pair of free throws. Yes, he oiled the Eagles.

Ewing’s Coppin counterpart, Juan Dixon, was impressed. Like G’town’s bench leader in the sixth year of his tenure, Dixon gushed “He’s a great guard. Young, explosive, plays with a lot of confidence”.

Dixon lamented not having “that presence, that big body that can corral a little quick guard like that”.


Coppin pulled the game even after Mike Hood (7p, 3r) corralled an offensive rebound and calmly sank a three ball at the final buzzer, pushing the teams to bonus action. Thing is, his shot probably shouldn’t have occurred.

Per Ewing “We were supposed to foul at the end, we didn’t”. Nevertheless he seemed grateful, as “we were able to come away with the win in the end”.

What he was referring to was a strategy in which Coppin State would have been sent to the foul line intentionally, thereby precluding a game tying three point shot, which occurred.

Ewing summed up thusly: We were supposed to foul…That’s my belief, up three with 10 seconds (to play). We missed the free throw”, Murray clanked a pair, “we told them we wanted to foul. It didn’t happen. They made us pay for it”.

Dixon felt similarly, expressing “i was surprised (a foul didn’t occur). They probably were surprised their best player missed two free throws. I think that caught them off guard”.

From that point “We did a good job of free throw rebounding, Got it into one of our best players (guard Nendah Tarke with 17 points, six rebounds), early. They didn’t foul and were sagging off” recalled the coach. “He shot it outside the NBA three point line. We got the offensive rebound. In that case Mike made a big shot.

“But for us defensively, we would try and foul…prevent a team from tying in that situation”.


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