It's lonely at the top and that's just fine with NCCU
Being lonely at the top of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference is just fine by N.C. Central, not looking for any company heading down the back stretch of a season that so far has been pretty good.
NCCU (16-5, 7-1 MEAC) added a signature win to its résumé with a Nov. 20 victory at N.C. State. That was the first time NCCU had beaten an Atlantic Coast Conference team.
The Eagles haven’t been perfect since then, but they’ve been awfully good, now soaring on an eight-game winning streak they hope to continue today when Bethune-Cookman visits McDougald-McLendon Gymnasium (4 p.m., NCCUEaglePride.com).
Bethune-Cookman (5-20, 3-7 MEAC) is not the worst team in the league, but the Wildcats haven’t torn it up, either, not winning a single road game in 15 tries this season.
By contrast, NCCU is a perfect 10-0 at home.
NCCU beat Bethune-Cookman 64-49 on Jan. 13. The Eagles obviously are looking to sweep the Wildcats and extend their winning streak.
Bethune-Cookman hasn’t thrown in the towel. The Wildcats had lost 17 straight games before winning three of their last four, including Monday’s 91-59 decision over S.C. State.
Against S.C. State, the Wildcats shot 70.7 percent from the field and 83.3 percent from 3-point range, both school records. Bethune-Cookman’s Mikel Trapp hit all seven of his 3-point attempts and finished the contest with both a game-high and a career-high 33 points.
Trapp and teammate Malik Jackson this season are leading Bethune-Cookman in scoring with averages of 11.3 and 10.7 points per game, respectively.
As a team, though, Bethune-Cookman is 10th in the MEAC in scoring at 62.6 points per game.
NCCU is giving up 60.5 points per game, stingiest in the league.
No MEAC team is hotter than NCCU. Morgan State has two straight wins, and that’s as close as any team in the league comes to the Eagles’ eight.
That said, NCCU was 15-1 in the MEAC during last year’s regular season. The Eagles beat archival N.C. A&T twice during that stretch before the Aggies took care of NCCU when it really counted — in the MEAC Tournament.
A&T wound up winning the tournament and earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.