NCCU rides Ingram's 24 points to win over visiting Winthrop
Winthrop showed up from the Big South Conference and established early on that N.C. Central would have to work for this one.
NCCU got it done 72-66 over Winthrop on Wednesday at McDougald-McLendon Gymnasium, but the visitors’ four-guard lineup caused problems. It forced one of NCCU’s big men to have to match up with a quicker player.
The Rock Hill, S.C., visitors moved the ball with a swiftness that put NCCU in an 11-3 hole before a 3-pointer from NCCU’s Reggie Groves brought the home team within three points.
Jordan Parks tied the game with a 3 on NCCU’s next possession.
Groves — a redshirt senior in his first season with NCCU — established himself as a long-ball shooter with 10 3s against Barber-Scotia, breaking the school’s single-game record of nine 3s that NCCU coach LeVelle Moton set in 1995. When that game was over, Groves had scored 32 points, but Barber-Scotia is nowhere close to being a Division I team like NCCU.
Groves getting buckets against Winthrop would be a better measure of his ability to bring it.
He brought it, getting another 3 to go in the first half.
“That’s what we brought him here for,” Moton said. “He has to take those shots because he’s more than capable of knocking them down, and he hit a huge one over here in the corner that put us up 58-56 that kind of gave us a cushion.”
During NCCU’s Dec. 7 loss at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Groves was passing up open looks. Moton told Groves that playing like that isn’t good for the team.
Groves, a graduate student, was missing practice time earlier in the season due to his class schedule. He said it kept him from grasping some of the plays, but now he’s on the other side of that learning curve.
“It’s all about confidence,” said Groves (12 points).
Parks finished the half with 13 points, and Ingram, NCCU’s leading scorer, was beginning to get warm, his 12 points helping his team to a 39-32 halftime lead.
Ingram would finish with a game-high 24 points, and NCCU point guard Emanuel “Poobie” Chapman led all passers with nine assists.
“Ingram can really, really score,” Winthrop coach Pat Kelsey said. “Poobie’s got eyes in the back of his head. He can see the game, like, two seconds in advance. That’s an innate, special skill. I love watching that kid on tape because you love watching point guards with great court sense, and he really has that.”
Winthrop guard Keon Johnson (12 points) looked like he was going to be a problem for NCCU. He got off to a fast start before cooling off, finishing the half with seven points.
In the second half, a Josh Davenport 3 brought Winthrop within two points of NCCU, 51-48, with 12:55 left in the game. His hoop off a little dribble drive got Winthrop a couple of points closer, and then Andre Smith’s 3 gave their club its first lead of the second half with 10:51 to go.
There were lots of 3-pointers in the game and Johnson’s deep ball got Winthrop within two with 5:45 to play.
There was also a lot of basket trading, Ingram answering with a layup to give NCCU a 64-60 lead. The clock gave the two adversaries 4:16 to figure it out.
NCCU had better ideas and execution at the end and hung on to get the W.
“They jumped on us out of the half,” Kelsey said. “To our kids’ credit, they responded and took the lead. We had a couple of tough turnovers late that were crucial when it was a two-point game that led to baskets, and I think that was the end of the story.”
Winthrop beat Appalachian State on Sunday.
NCCU hadn’t played since the loss to IUPUI.
Eleven days off presumably makes a team either rusty or ready. Moton wasn’t entertaining any of that.
“If it was 11 days, 11 months, they’ve got lights on, they’ve got popcorn popping, so we’ve got to come in here and perform,” Moton said.
|NC CENTRAL 72, WINTHROP 66|
Percentages: FG .453, FT .667.
3-Point Goals: 10-25, .400 (Davenport 3-3, Smith 3-7, Johnson 2-5, Moore 1-3, Jerome 1-5, Farmer 0-2).
Team Rebounds: 5.
Blocked Shots: 2 (Davenport, Brown).
Turnovers: 18 (Jerome 4, Smith 4, Moore 3, Vega 2, Johnson 2, Davenport, Brown, Scott).
Steals: 3 (Smith, Prescott, Vega).
Technical Fouls: None.
Percentages: FG .500, FT .679.
3-Point Goals: 7-16, .438 (Groves 3-6, Ingram 2-5, Parks 1-1, Chapman 1-1, Houston 0-1, Jawara 0-2).
Team Rebounds: 1.
Blocked Shots: 6 (Copeland 2, Parks 2, Jawara, Ingram).
Turnovers: 13 (Houston 4, Ingram 3, Copeland 2, Chapman 2, Parks, Jawara).
Steals: 9 (Groves 2, Ingram 2, Chapman 2, Houston 2, Parks).
Technical Fouls: None.
Officials_Earl Walton, Brandon Williams, Treaty Williams.