Tigers end Eagles’ run in MEAC
N.C. Central will need some help if the Eagles are to claim a share of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference regular-season title this season after a sluggish 44-36 loss at Savannah State on Saturday night.
NCCU (17-8, 10-1 MEAC) remains in second place in the conference, with Savannah State (15-10, 9-2) a game behind. Norfolk State (16-10, 11-0), which is not on the Eagles’ 2012-13 schedule, now is alone atop the standings.
Jeremy Ingram was the only NCCU player in double figures, finishing with 15 points on a night when the Eagles shot just 30.8 percent from the field.
Savannah State had its struggles, as well, with Devon Williams coming off the bench for a team-high 12 points. In fact, the Tigers’ starting lineup combined to score just 15 points.
But the trouble started early for the Eagles.
After Jay Copeland Jr.’s layup cut the Savannah State lead to 8-4 with 16:04 remaining in the first half, the Eagles didn’t score again until Jeremy Ingram’s 3-pointer at the 9:14 mark trimmed the margin to 12-7.
Ingram added a layup, and Copeland hit the second of two free throws with 7:13 left in the half to pull NCCU to within 12-10.
But that was as close as the Eagles would get, as Savannah State led 24-16 at halftime.
In the second half, Ingram had a layup and later two free throws to pull the Eagles to within six with 17:56 left.
Then Savannah State put up nine straight points through the 14:04 mark for 35-20 lead, its biggest of the night.
Stanton Kidd and Ray Willis had 3-pointers during a 7-0 NCCU run to pull within 35-29 on a free throw by Willis with 8:23 remaining, and the Eagles cut the margin to four with 4:15 left.
But that was as close as they would get, as Devon Williams sank a 3-pointer and Rashad Hassan later added a free throw to set the final margin.
The Eagles continue their road trip with a visit to South Carolina State on Monday night.
Savannah St. 44, NCCU 36
Percentages: FG .308, FT .643. 3-Point Goals: 3-7, .429 (Willis 1-1, Kidd 1-1, Ingram 1-5). Team Rebounds: 0. Blocked Shots: 4 (Copeland 3, Chapman). Turnovers: 19 (Ingram 7, Copeland 6, Chapman 2, Kidd 2, Ferguson, Houston). Steals: 8 (Willis 3, Kidd 2, Ferguson, Copeland, Ingram).
Percentages: FG .400, FT .400. 3-Point Goals: 4-16, .250 (Williams 2-6, Wilson 1-2, Blackman 1-5, Hutchins 0-1, Burger 0-1, White 0-1). Team Rebounds: 4. Blocked Shots: 6 (Hassan 3, J. Smith 2, Blackman). Turnovers: 17 (Hassan 3, Blackman 2, C. Smith 2, Burger 2, J. Smith 2, Louis 2, White 2, Hutchins, Spears). Steals: 10 (White 3, J. Smith 2, Louis 2, Williams, Blackman, C. Smith).