NCCU rolling, gets tad bit of love in AP poll

Feb. 24, 2014 @ 07:13 PM

 It wouldn’t be a bad idea for New Jersey Institute of Technology coach Jim Engles to add a note in his scouting report to temper any plans about playing zone defense against N.C. Central tonight (7 p.m., 99.9 HD3 The Ticket).

“Whenever I see a zone, I love that, because I get more open looks that way,” NCCU senior Jeremy Ingram said.

N.C. A&T threw a zone at NCCU on Saturday. Ingram put 30 points on the scoreboard in a 73-55 win.

The Eagles (21-5, 12-1 MEAC) are rolling and will go after their 13th win in a row at NJIT.

NCCU this week received a top-25 vote in the Associated Press poll for the first time since becoming a Division I program in the 2007-08 season.

NJIT is 13-15 overall, but the Highlanders have won four games in a row.

Ingram knocked down 50 percent of what he put up from the field (8 of 16) against A&T. The Eagles finished the game making 40 percent of their shots, although NCCU’s big men sure weren’t hitting on much.

Starting forwards Karamo Jawara and Jay Copeland both fouled out without making a single field goal. Copeland made 2 of 6 free throws and had six rebounds. Jawara had a couple of rebounds.

Hybrid guard Jordan Parks didn’t miss a single shot but only attempted two from the field, and he made both of his free throws before fouling out with six points and three rebounds.

Still, NCCU had little trouble with A&T. The Eagles were getting it done with defense, holding A&T’s shooters to 29.8 percent.

The Eagles were up 70-53 with 38.8 seconds left in the game, yet there was NCCU coach LeVelle Moton drawing up a play on a whiteboard.

“This is my livelihood,” Moton said. “I’ve seen some crazy things happen, and I don’t want to be the recipient of those crazy things happening.

“We practice and try to prepare for greatness.”

That’s why NCCU went hard in practice the day after beating N.C. State for the Eagles’ first win over at Atlantic Coast Conference team.

“You would’ve thought we lost by 30 — you see what I’m saying? — because there were so many things that we didn’t do the right way. For us to reach our ultimate prize, that’s what it takes.

”NCCU is in first place in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. The Eagles are guaranteed the top seed in the MEAC Tournament if they win their next four games. Three of those contests are against teams NCCU already beat earlier in the season.

In January, NCCU beat NJIT 71-55 in McDougald-McLendon Gymnasium.