Eagles soar to MEAC title

Mar. 03, 2014 @ 10:26 PM

This game, at the very least, turned into a nominee for an instant ESPNU classic.

N.C. Central got five overtime points from senior point guard Emanuel “Poobie” Chapman and finally got past Savannah State 64-57.

Chapman finished the game with 14 points. NCCU senior shooting guard Jeremy Ingram and junior hybrid guard Jordan Parks both had 17 points.

That was NCCU’ 23rd straight home win, on national television, no less.

It was NCCU’s final home game. The Eagles this season have protected their nest in McDougald-McLendon Gymnasium 14 times. They didn’t drop a single home game.

NCCU extended its overall winning streak to 16.

By the way, the Eagles used the win to clinch the regular-season championship in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

It’s NCCU’s first MEAC title since rejoining the league in 2011.

“This is the byproduct of sacrifice, commitment, hard work and dedication and faith in God, man,” NCCU coach LeVelle Moton said. “It’s incredible. I’m speechless.”

The coach did have a little something else to say about the nets that cushioned those basketballs that finally started falling through the rim in the second half.

“You can best believe we’re about to cut them things down,” Moton said.

Ice was falling from the sky outside of McDougald-McLendon, and it was right chilly inside in the first half. Buckets were rare in a low-scoring first half. The Tigers were shooting 33.3 percent from the field, and the Eagles were getting just 32.3 percent of their shots to go down. But NCCU had done enough to take a 23-18 lead into the locker room at halftime.

MEAC teams this season are averaging 58.9 points per game against NCCU. That’s the best defense in the league, so Savannah State’s scoring troubles weren’t all that much of a surprise.

NCCU, though, had been averaging 73.8 points per game, tops in the MEAC.  

A few weeks ago, Moton said the first-place Eagles at some point would have to grind out a low-scoring game. Fifth-place Savannah State appeared to be presenting that opportunity. 

Moton predicted this. On Monday, after NCCU blew the doors off S.C. State on Saturday, he said those Tigers that Savannah State coach Horace Broadnax leads would be some real tough cats.

At the start of the second half, Chapman knocked off some of the proverbial ice that was covering the rim, getting a bank shot to go from behind the 3-point line.

Chapman hit a floater on his return trip to put NCCU up 10 points.

Savannah State coach Horace Broadnax needed a timeout to talk to his Tigers.

NCCU emerged from the break and got a little warmer offensively, but jumpers by Deven Williams (14 points) kept Savannah State in the game. That guy was 4 of 4 from behind the arc.

Chapman banked another jumper to give NCCU a 41-32 lead with just under eight minutes left in the game.

Williams hit a 3 to bring Savannah State within four points.

Savannah State’s Jeremiah Hill visited the lane and got a tough bucket to go, getting within two points of NCCU with 5:46 to go.

NCCU starting forward Jay Copeland fouled out with 5:26 left in the game. He hacked Jyles Smith, whose two free throws tied the game.

A good bit of basket trading ensued.

NCCU’s Ebuka Anyaorah checked into the game for the first time with 3:53 left in the game. He hit two free throws to give the Eagles a 48-46 lead with 2:16 on the clock.

Smith hit a basket to bring Savannah State within one point with 59 seconds left to play.

NCCU had to take a shot. Ingram missed it.

Savannah State, down 49-48, ended up with an opportunity to hold out for the final shot with 21 seconds left in the game.

The Tigers missed. NCCU’s Jordan Parks got the rebound and was fouled with 10.7 seconds left on the clock.

Parks missed the first of two free throws. He made the second one to put NCCU up 50-48.

But Savannah State’s Terel Hall tied the game with a layup with two seconds to play.

NCCU’s desperation heave failed, sending the game into overtime.

Broadnax was on Georgetown coach John Thompson’s team that featured Patrick Ewing when the Hoyas won the national championship in 1984.

After the game, Broadnax spent some time catching up with Moton. He said he remembers when Chapman and Ingram were young guys prone to mistakes, but Moton has turned them into clutch performers.

“You respect what he’s doing here, respect him developing his players,” Broadnax said.

 

 

 

 

 

NC CENTRAL 64, SAVANNAH ST. 57, OT

 

FG

FT

Reb

SAVANNAH ST.

Min

M-A

M-A

O-T

A

PF

PTS

White

23

1-3

2-2

0-0

0

2

4

Montgomery

30

2-5

2-4

1-5

0

5

6

Richards

29

5-10

0-0

0-3

1

2

12

Williams

20

4-7

2-2

2-2

1

1

14

Smith

44

3-3

4-4

2-11

1

3

10

Fenner

7

0-4

0-0

0-1

0

0

0

Muhammad

5

0-0

0-2

0-0

0

1

0

Carter

2

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Hall

31

3-9

0-1

0-6

3

2

6

Hill

23

1-6

0-0

1-1

0

3

3

Davis

0

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Champaigne

11

1-3

0-2

2-4

0

2

2

Totals

225

20-50

10-17

11-36

6

21

57

Percentages: FG .400, FT .588.

3-Point Goals: 7-15, .467 (Williams 4-4, Richards 2-2, Hill 1-4, Hall 0-1, Montgomery 0-2, Fenner 0-2).

Team Rebounds: 3.

Blocked Shots: 6 (Smith 6).

Turnovers: 20 (Richards 5, Smith 4, White 4, Hall 3, Champaigne, Hill, Montgomery).

Steals: 4 (Richards, Hill, Hall, Smith).

Technical Fouls: Montgomery.

 

FG

FT

Reb

NC CENTRAL

Min

M-A

M-A

O-T

A

PF

PTS

Copeland

10

2-3

0-0

1-2

0

5

4

Jawara

39

2-6

4-6

1-5

1

4

8

Ingram

45

5-19

6-10

1-5

1

2

17

Chapman

45

6-12

0-0

2-5

7

0

14

Houston

16

0-4

0-0

0-1

1

0

0

Holmes

3

0-1

0-0

1-1

0

0

0

Parks

38

6-8

5-8

4-8

1

5

17

Anyaorah

3

0-0

4-4

0-1

0

0

4

Groves

26

0-2

0-0

0-1

1

0

0

Totals

225

21-55

19-28

12-35

12

16

64

Percentages: FG .382, FT .679.

3-Point Goals: 3-18, .167 (Chapman 2-5, Ingram 1-9, Groves 0-2, Jawara 0-2).

Team Rebounds: 6.

Blocked Shots: 7 (Ingram 3, Parks 3, Jawara).

Turnovers: 9 (Ingram 3, Chapman 2, Jawara 2, Parks, Copeland).

Steals: 9 (Jawara 3, Chapman 2, Parks, Copeland, Groves, Ingram).

Technical Fouls: None.

Savannah St.

18

32

7—57

NC Central

23

27

14—64

A_2,732.

Officials_Dwayne Gladden, Quez Crawford, Tony Crisp.