Against Oakland, it was because of the Golden Grizzles’ pressure. Against Coppin State on Tuesday night, coach Quin Snyder said there were no excuses.
For the second time in as many games, the No. 4 Tigers struggled with turnovers but escaped, defeating the Eagles 70-61 in come-from-behind fashion at Hearnes Center. The win is the Tigers’ 29th straight home-opening win.
“(Coppin State) did a good job,” Snyder said. “I’m not disappointed. I’m just realistic about the fact that our team needs to get better.
“We’re not going to come up with some potion and drink it and all of a sudden be a different team. We can play better. I know we’re capable of playing better.”
After committing 19 turnovers Tuesday, the Tigers have had at least that many in every game, including the exhibition season.
As it did Saturday, MU committed 14 turnovers in the first half. Senior guard Rickey Paulding led the team with seven.
“It was just a frustrating game all-around,” senior center Arthur Johnson said.
The turnover problems continued on the first possession of the second half when sophomore guard Jimmy McKinney gave the ball away. The steal turned into a breakaway layup for forward Darron Bradley.
After the first minute in which the Tigers turned the ball over twice, though, they committed only three turnovers.
Snyder said improvement will come through repetition.
“I want to play,” Snyder said. “I want to play as many games as we can because I think that’s what we need. I’ve said this before. It’s going to take some time.”
Trying to come back.
Senior forward Travon Bryant led the Tigers with 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting. He also had six rebounds and three blocks.
Bryant brought the crowd to its feet with a tip-in with 12:30 left. The basket gave the Tigers (2-0) their first lead since midway through the first half, 45-44. The score culminated a rally from a 42-35 deficit. After Bryant gave the Tigers the lead, Bradley answered with a layup next time down the court.
The lead switched hands on the next four possessions. Two Bryant free throws made it 50-49 and put the Tigers in the lead for good. On the next possession, Bryant fed Johnson underneath for a layup and a foul. Then Johnson scored from the post again for a 55-49 lead.
MU outscored the Eagles 42-29 in the second.
Johnson chipped in 14 points and nine rebounds. McKinney was the only other Tiger in double-figure scoring with 10.
Despite a 5-of-16 start from the field, the Tigers warmed up to 51 percent shooting.
The Eagles (2-5) went on a 14-4 run during the final 5:06 of the first half. King, who scored eight in the burst, closed the run with two 3-pointers. His second with 1:48 left put the Eagles in the lead 32-24. The eight-point bulge was Coppin State’s biggest.
“With the kind of zone they were playing, it really junked it up and packed it in there,” senior guard Josh Kroenke said. “We wanted to get the ball inside, but we couldn’t. (The post players) were open for split seconds. We wound up where the perimeter was just standing around, kind of passing it around.”
It was a 14-0 run before Paulding and freshman forward Linas Kleiza scored the final two baskets of the half.
Eagles guard Nicholas King led all scorers with 16 points in the first half, making 4-of-5 from 3-point range. Coppin State hit 7-of-12 3-pointers.
The Eagles started with a flurry as well, making three straight 3-pointers in the first 3:50. King, who scored a game-high 25, hit two 3-pointers and forward Jimmy Boykin hit one as well.
King consistently found openings to shoot, hitting 6-of-11.
Missing the threes.
Despite making nearly 53 percent of their 3-pointers against Oakland, the Tigers did not maintain their hot hands. The Tigers missed their first six 3-pointers until freshman Spencer Laurie made one with 9:52 left in the first half. The basket was Laurie’s first of the season. The Tigers continued to misfire from behind the 3-point line in the second half, making 4-of-17 for the game.
Johnson scored seven points in the first half to lead the Tigers.