NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY)  The two games Norfolk State and Coppin State played this season couldn’t have been any more different.

In the first matchup against the Eagles (9-22, 4-10 MEAC), the Spartans shot the ball nearly 60% and won 96-65.

The second?

It was a disappointing senior night loss, 67-62, in which NSU hit just 5-of-27 3-pointers.

Needless to say, the No. 3-seed Spartans (20-10, 9-5 MEAC) want more of the first, and less of the second when they face sixth-seed Coppin State a third time in the MEAC men’s basketball tournament at Scope Arena in Thursday night’s quarterfinal round. Tipoff is 8 p.m.

“For the first matchup, we were very dominant,” said NSU senior forward Dana Tate Jr. “We came out hot and we played together. I feel like if we play like that, no matter who we play, it’s going to be hard to beat us.”

Tate said the Spartans were lackadaisical in the second game between the two teams.

“I think we were comfortable and I don’t think we respected our opponent as much as we should have,” Tate said.

NSU is looking to be the second team since 2000 to win the MEAC tournament in three straight seasons, having won it in both 2021 and 2022.

If the Spartans win, they’ll play either North Carolina Central or Delaware State in a semifinal matchup at 8 p.m. Friday.

Notes: Joe Bryant Jr. was named the conference player of the year Tuesday. Bryant led the team with 17.3 points-per-game, while Kris Bankston averaged 14.3 ppg, and also shot nearly 70% from the field this season.