NCCU eyes regular-season MEAC title, hosts S.C. State

Feb. 28, 2014 @ 11:54 PM

An N.C. Central win against S.C. State would allow the Eagles to clinch at least a share of the regular-season championship in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

The Eagles (22-5, 12-1 MEAC) have been rolling, 14 wins in row. And they’ve been outstanding at home, winning 21 straight at McDougald-McLendon Gymnasium — 12-0 there this year.

NCCU will look to protect its nest on senior day today. The S.C. State Bulldogs will come barking and hope to have the bite to back it up (4 p.m., NCCUEaglePride.com).

Today and Monday — when NCCU hosts Savannah State — will be the last times Eagle seniors Jeremy Ingram and Emanuel Chapman will perform at home.

In high school, neither Ingram nor Chapman were flooded with attractive offers to play college basketball. NCCU coach LeVelle Moton gave them a shot, and the two have returned the favor.

Ingram, from Charlotte's East Mecklenburg High School, is NCCU’s top scorer and the No. 2 point producer in the MEAC. His 20.2 points per game has him tied as the No. 22 scorer in the nation.

Chapman, from Raleigh's Enloe High School, became the first player in NCCU history to dish out more than 500 career assists. He reached that milestone during a Jan. 13 game at Bethune-Cookman. His 583 assists are No. 1 all-time at NCCU. He averages 6.7 assists per game, tied for sixth nationally. He’s the top set-up man in the MEAC.

Starting guard Alfonzo Houston (10.1 points per game) has been a big part of what NCCU has been able to do this season. He’ll be among the honored seniors, along with Antonin Galaya, Reggie Groves and Ebuka Anyaorah. Those seniors represent 76 wins over the last four seasons.

Today’s MEAC games usher in the final week of the league's regular season, which wraps up Thursday night. The conference tournament is March 10-15 at Norfolk (Va.) Scope Arena.

If the MEAC Tournament started today, first place NCCU would be the No. 1 seed. S.C. State (9-17, 5-8 MEAC) would be the No. 8 seed out of 13 MEAC teams.

Bulldogs center Matthew Hezekiah leads S.C. State with 13.3 points per game. He shoots 56 percent from the field, fourth best in the MEAC.

As a team, S.C. State is shooting 40.5 percent.

Moton doesn’t want teams shooting more than 40 percent against the Eagles, an obedient bunch that is holding opponents to just 37.6 percent — the best defensive mark in the MEAC.