Galaya powers NCCU in tuneup for MEAC
N.C. Central shot 60 percent from the field and only allowed Virginia University of Lynchburg to make 23.1 percent of its shots in a 97-28 win at McDougald-McLendon Gymnasium on Tuesday.
It was the lowest point total for an NCCU opponent since the fall of 1947 when the Eagles beat St. Augustine’s 75-28.
And NCCU coach LeVelle Moton still wasn’t pleased.
“I didn’t really like our intensity, initially,” Moton said. “I know I sound bad with the result of the score, but it’s those little things, man. To go from good to great, you’ve got to have that killer instinct. You can’t just show up when you want to and take plays off.”
It was NCCU’s final non-conference game before diving into its Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference schedule on Saturday against Florida A&M in Tallahassee, Fla.
VUL, a Division I team that competes in the U.S. Collegiate Athletic Association, threw a zone defense at NCCU. The Eagles hadn’t been seeing that in recent games, so the Dragons provided an assessment opportunity for NCCU, Moton said.
The Eagles need more work, Moton said.
“When I grade film, the first half — it was terrible,” Moton said. “It’s conference time. It’s tough in the conference, because the tension — you can cut it with a knife and it’s thick, and you’ve just got to be able to execute, especially on the road.”
NCCU came out playing strong defense, causing the shot clock to expire a couple of times on VUL, not allowing the Dragons on the scoreboard until nearly midway through the first half.
VUL shot 16 percent from the field in the first half.
“They’re a very good defensive team,” VUL coach Buddy Mason said.
NCCU was sizzling in the second half, shooting 69.7 percent from the field, including three 3-pointers from newcomer Antonin Galaya, a junior from the French West Indies who led all scorers with 18 points.
“Long overdue,” Moton said. “What you saw out here, that’s why we recruited him — come in here and shoot the basketball, spread the defense.”
Galaya struggled with his shot earlier in the season because he had to adjust to the speed and height of Division I basketball, Moton said.
“It was a good night; my teammates found me,” Galaya said. “They really found me and put me in situations to make those 3s.”
In the first half, Emanuel Chapman became the fifth NCCU player in the school’s history to dish out 300 career assists, reaching the milestone after finding Alfonzo Houston for a layup.
Chapman had eight assists by halftime, turning it over just once to go with two steals and a 3-pointer.
“As I grow as a point guard, I’m trying to get away from the spectacular,” Chapman said.
Chapman, a junior from Raleigh, finished with 10 assists, 307 for his career.
NCCU big man Jay Copeland (9 points, 3 rebounds) was back on the court for the first time since injuring his knee in practice before Christmas.
“It’s a blessing to be back,” Copeland said. “Some people get injuries and they have to sit out the season.”
The Dragons were missing their primary ball handler and one of their main big guys, Mason said.
VUL 7-footer Egor Shakhmetov (13 points) was the only Dragons in double figures.
“We are missing our best rebounder,” Mason said. “We are struggling big time right now.”
NCCU 97, Lynchburg 28
Percentages: FG .231, FT .375. 3-Point Goals: 1-13, .077 (McKoy 1-3, McPhaul 0-1, Janenas 0-1, Talavae 0-1, Zimin 0-2, Gravely 0-5). Team Rebounds: 4. Blocked Shots: 2 (Gravely, Shakhmetov). Turnovers: 24 (McPhaul 3, Talavae 3, McKoy 2, Janenas 2, Calvan 2, Gravely 2, Zimin 2, Sheffield 2, Shakhmetov). Steals: 4 (McKoy 2, Shakhmetov 2).
Percentages: FG .600, FT .500. 3-Point Goals: 12-23, .522 (Galaya 6-8, Ingram 2-6, Jawara 1-1, Marrow 1-1, Chapman 1-2, Willis 1-4, Houston 0-1). Blocked Shots: 4 (Kidd 2, Galaya, Jawara). Turnovers: 6 (Kidd 2, Chapman, Houston, Galaya, Willis). Steals: 10 (Jawara 2, Ferguson 2, Chapman 2, Galaya 2, Marrow, Ingram).
A—812. Officials—Carl Blair, Raymond Styons, Brian Smoot.