Eagles soar into NCAA Tournament; Duke to face UVa for ACC title
Jeremy Ingram scored 29 points and N.C. Central held on to beat Morgan State 71-62 for the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship Saturday night.
Karamo Jawara added 10 points for the Eagles (28-5), who won their 20th consecutive game and claimed the league’s automatic NCAA Tournament berth in only their third season at the Division I level.
It’s NCCU’s first bid ever to the NCAA Tournament.
In Greensboro, Jabari Parker led No. 7-ranked Duke past N.C. State 75-67 in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament to set up an ACC championship showdown with No. 6 Virginia, the ACC regular-season champion.
Duke (26-7) and Virginia (27-6) will meet at 1 p.m. today (WRAL/ESPN) at the Greensboro Coliseum. The trip will be Duke’s 31st all-time to the ACC Tournament title game.
Duke beat Virginia in the teams’ only head-to-head meeting this season, 69-65 on Jan. 13 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. It was the first — and one of only two — ACC losses sustained by the Cavaliers this season.
At the Norfolk Scope Arena, Morgan State (15-16), was appearing in the championship for the sixth time in eight seasons under coach Todd Bozeman and seeking its fourth championship.
N.C. Central, a former Division II power, finished 18-1 against MEAC competition this year and hasn’t lost since Jan. 11 against Florida A&M. The championship game appearance was its first.
NCCU hadn’t won a conference championship tournament of any kind since winning CIAA tournament in 1950 under Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame coach John B. McLendon.
The Eagles won the NCAA Division II men’s national championship in 1989 and have a 10-5 record in six appearances in the NCAA Division II men’s basketball tournament. NCCU’s last postseason appearance was March 7, 1997, a 78-66 loss to St. Augustine’s in the Division II tournament.