Milestone win against N.C. State not enough for N.C. Central
Pretty much as soon as the Appalachian State Mountaineers got off their bus parked outside N.C. Central’s McDougald-McLendon Gymnasium on Friday, the Eagles jumped all over them, building a 32-18 halftime lead on 52.2 percent shooting from the field.
Appalachian State didn’t roll over. The Mountaineers battled back and closed the gap.
Yet there was NCCU senior point guard Emanuel Chapman patting the ball near mid-court and smiling, never mind the pressure.
“Those kinds of games, they excite you,” Chapman said. “As a basketball player, you want to be in those situations. As a little kid, those were the situations when you count down and shoot the game-winning shot.”
NCCU wound up winning 76-70 in overtime. It was an arduous ordeal.
It was basketball, Chapman said.
“It’s still basketball. You find the joy in it,” Chapman said.
NCCU is back on the court tonight at home against Barber-Scotia (7 p.m., NCCUEaglePride.com).
While the Appalachian State game was fun, there was nothing funny about it, Chapman said.
“I’m not saying it was funny, at all, because that’s not OK. We’ve got to be able to keep people down,” Chapman said. “As teammates, we chewed each other out.”
That’s a good thing, NCCU coach LeVelle Moton said.
“I walked in the locker room and it was almost like a loss, and I’m kind of proud of that, because they expect more from themselves,” Moton said.
The win was NCCU’s fourth in a row, three of them against in-state schools — Campbell, N.C. State, and Appalachian State — that have been playing Division I ball far longer than the Eagles.
NCCU’s win last Wednesday over N.C. State, an Atlantic Coast Conference school, was monumental. That was the first time in 14 tries that NCCU beat an ACC team.
N.C. State is regarded as a high-major school that traditionally has been able to compete with the best programs in the country.
NCCU is viewed as a low-major school in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference after playing Division II ball in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association for years.
Moton said NCCU’s win over N.C. State was the most significant victory of his coaching career. But that’s old news now, and the Eagles need to understand that, he said.
“I told them, get the State thing out of your system,” Moton said. “That’s equivalent to a ride at the fair where you go up and down, up and down and say, ‘Wee, wee, wee!’ But when it stops, you’ve got to get off that ride and go find another one. We’re done with that ride. It’s no more N.C. State.”