Groves' 32 lead NCCU to easy win over visiting Barber-Scotia
Tuesday was more or less a time for the N.C. Central Eagles to stretch their legs before Thanksgiving, handling winless Barber-Scotia 101-46 in McDougald-McLendon Gymnasium.
Even the NCCU cheerleaders had the night off.
The differential on the scoreboard was so wide so early that NCCU coach LeVelle Moton inserted seldom-used freshman walk-on Kevin Crawford II to run the point with 8:41 left until halftime, the Eagles leading 42-10.
Crawford attacked the rim, hung in the air for a moment and put a little spell on the basketball before dropping it in the hole.
“I just got the ball, and it was a defender right there,” Crawford said. “So I just had to get him out of the way, so whatever came to my mind, I just did it and scored.”
Nobody scored like NCCU’s Reggie Groves. He put 32 points on the scoreboard, hitting 11 of 14 shots. Ten of those 11 makes were 3-pointers.
Groves was in a groove.
“Three-pointers are my specialty,” Groves said.
The 10 3s by Groves broke the school record that Moton set on Jan. 19, 1995 when he hit nine against archrival N.C. A&T.
After Thanksgiving and later on into December, NCCU will make road trips to go against Wichita State and Maryland. Those wide-open looks that Groves got against inferior Barber-Scotia (0-10) won’t be so clean, Moton said.
“Wichita State is a Final Four team, and they hang their hats on the defensive end of the floor, so it will not be that easy. It will be a much more physical game,” Moton said.
NCCU had better spend some time during the Thanksgiving break learning to play tighter defense, Moton suggested.
“We’ve got to get better guarding the bounce,” Moton said. “We’re not where we need to be. We allowed that team to shoot 45 percent (from the field in the first half). Nobody shoots 45 percent on us.”
The halftime score was 61-24.
The Eagles locked down on defense during the final 20 minutes, holding the Sabers to 21.4 percent shooting from the field.
NCCU (5-1) has not lost since dropping the season opener at Cincinnati, but the Eagles’ defense has been suspect. It’s the sort of thing that had NCCU forward Karamo Jawara tearing into teammate Jeremy Ingram during practice recently.
“He had a moment where he didn’t like Jeremy’s effort in practice and he got in his face and told him about it,” Moton said.
Ingram, a senior, entered the game against Barber-Scotia as the No. 7 scorer in the nation, averaging 28.5 points per contest. He’s been killing it offensively, but was held to 13 Tuesday in 22 minutes.
But as far as Jawara, a junior, was concerned, all of that scoring Ingram’s been doing wasn’t making a lick of difference on the defensive end.
“It’s nothing negative about it,” Jawara said. “If I’m doing something wrong, I want you to tell me.”
That’s team building, right there, Moton said.
“I love him because he holds his teammates accountable. He’s not scared to become Coach Moton for a minute or two,” Moton said about Jawara. “That’s when you’re growing, because good teams police themselves and hold each other accountable.
“Although Jeremy is scoring points, he’s not grading out defensively as he has in the previous years, so that means his mind is more so on scoring, and we’ve got to get him balanced.”
Moton said he’s going to do the holiday thing, yet while his players are somewhere giving thanks and breaking bread, he’ll be breaking down game film. The Eagles have tons to work on, he said.
“I just found a million things wrong,” Moton said.
|NC CENTRAL 101, BARBER-SCOTIA 46|
Percentages: FG .320, FT .667.
3-Point Goals: 4-19, .211 (Mosley 2-6, Scott 1-1, Horn 1-2, Jordan 0-1, Marshall 0-1, Jones 0-3, Benton Jr. 0-5).
Team Rebounds: 2.
Blocked Shots: 2 (Barnes, Scott).
Turnovers: 19 (Barnes 5, Jones 3, Horn 3, Scott 2, Benton Jr. 2, Mosley, Jordan, Marshall).
Steals: 8 (Benton Jr. 4, Mosley, Jordan, Scott, Jones).
Technical Fouls: None.
Percentages: FG .527, FT .700.
3-Point Goals: 16-37, .432 (Groves 10-13, Moody 2-5, Galaya 2-7, Houston 1-3, Ingram 1-8, Jawara 0-1).
Team Rebounds: 4.
Blocked Shots: 2 (Parks, Copeland).
Turnovers: 13 (Crawford II 4, Ingram 3, Chapman 2, Parks 2, Moody, Copeland).
Steals: 9 (Ingram 3, Moody 2, Copeland, Parks, Houston, Groves).
Technical Fouls: None.
Officials_Dwight Walker, Cleveland Rogers, Isaish Rivers.