NCCU survives ‘tense and emotional’ battle with Bethune-Cookman
Four technical fouls were called and a player ejected during the Bethune-Cookman-N.C. Central game, and that was just in the first half.
NCCU pulled out a 81-75 victory to stay undefeated in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in a Monday-night smoker in McDougald-McLendon Gymnasium.
The Eagles got a career-high 32 points from junior guard Jeremy Ingram, and they needed every one of them to counter Bethune-Cookman’s Adrien Coleman.
One of the officials tossed Bethune-Cookman’s Allan Dempster for throwing a flagrant elbow with 10:32 left in the first half.
Marc Mack and Malik Jackson picked up first-half technical fouls for Bethune-Cookman and bad behavior by NCCU’s Emanuel “Poobie” Chapman cost his team one, as well.
“The first half was tense and emotional,” NCCU coach LeVelle Moton said.
Coleman spoke loudly with his scoring, and he had something to say with his game-high 10 rebounds, too.
“You’ve got to nip that in the bud, because what happens is that becomes a street-ball game,” Moton said. “That’s typical fashion of him. That’s not the first time or the last time he’s going to do that.
“My thing to him is, ‘I’m a grown man. You’re just not going to say anything and everything to me and my bench. You play the game, young fella. You’re talented enough to play the game and let your talent speak for itself.’”
Bethune-Cookman coach Gravelle Craig, who received one of the technical fouls, said NCCU bullied his Wildcats when the teams played in Daytona Beach earlier in the season. He said his guys stood up to Eagles this time.
“It got us going,” Craig said of the technical fouls. “It just showed that we weren’t going to back down.”
NCCU’s crowd was the loudest it has been all season, but Bethune-Cookman capitalized when Ray Willis, Stanton Kidd and Chapman went to the bench with foul trouble in the first half.
“The second unit came in, and we kind of lost a 17-point lead,” Moton said. “Poobie got caught up in emotion. He gets a tech. That’s a big play, and now momentum swings in their direction.”
Early in the second half, Bethune-Cookman took its first lead of the game on a Javoris Bryant basket that put the Wildcats up 42-41.
NCCU got it right back when Chapman lobbed one to Kidd for a dunk.
Then Chapman picked up his fourth foul with 16:42 left. That was a lot of time for NCCU to potentially be without its best set-up man. Chapman went to the bench and was replaced by junior point guard Drimir Ferguson, in his first year in Moton’s system.
That was a tough stretch for Moton.
“(I was) really concerned, because that’s our glue,” Moton said. “But we’ve got confidence in Drimir.”
Ferguson had five points and two assists to go with two turnovers.
Late in the game, Coleman posed with his hand in the air after his 3-pointer cut NCCU’s lead to two, and then he looked to where some NCCU football players were sitting and smirked after Paul Scotland’s basket tied the game with 5:21 on the clock.
Moton used a timeout and got Chapman back in the game.
Chapman, with no fouls to spare, hit a 3-pointer to put NCCU up three with 4:23 to go.
Willis stuck a deep dagger from behind the arc to give NCCU a 73-67 cushion with 1:49 to go.
Bethune-Cookman (9-16, 4-6 MEAC) missed some free throws down the stretch to help NCCU hang on behind Ingram’s monster game.
“I was just being more aggressive because of those guys who got in foul trouble,” Ingram said.
NCCU 81, Beth.-Cook. 75
Percentages: FG .431, FT .630. 3-Point Goals: 8-22, .364 (Coleman 3-5, Jackson 2-3, Dukes 2-6, Scotland 1-5, Johnson 0-3). Team Rebounds: 3. Blocked Shots: 4 (Smith 2, Coleman 2). Turnovers: 8 (Coleman 3, Johnson 2, Bryant, Smith, Dukes). Steals: 4 (Scotland 2, Bryant, Coleman). Technical Fouls: Jackson, Mack, Bench.
Percentages: FG .500, FT .778. 3-Point Goals: 8-18, .444 (Ingram 3-7, Willis 2-4, Chapman 1-1, Kidd 1-1, Galaya 1-4, Ferguson 0-1). Team Rebounds: 2. Blocked Shots: 3 (Ingram 2, Galaya). Turnovers: 13 (Copeland 3, Willis 3, Ferguson 2, Ingram 2, Galaya, Houston, Chapman). Steals: 4 (Willis, Houston, Ferguson, Copeland). Technical Fouls: Chapman.
A—2,614. Officials—William Covington, Jackie Sanders, George Jackson.