NCCU buckles up, preps for Friday NCAA opener, Iowa State
The Eagles have landed in San Antonio.
It’s time for N.C. Central to get back to work.
The team’s next assignment is in the NCAA Tournament against Iowa State at the AT&T Center on Friday (9:50 p.m., TNT).
NCCU is in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history, and fans Wednesday gave the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament champions a nice send-off outside McDougald-McLendon Gymnasium, where the 28-5 Eagles were 14-0 this season.
In fact, NCCU has a 23-game winning streak at home and overall has won 20 games in a row.
The Eagles have been getting it done with defense.
But here comes Iowa State, one of the best offensive teams in the nation.
The Cyclones, seeded third in the East Region of the NCAA Tournament, are averaging 82.9 points per game.
Big 12 Conference player of the year Melvin Ejim averages 18.1 points and 8.5 rebounds per game for Iowa State.
Iowa State has a big point guard in DeAndre Kane (6-4, 200). He averages 17 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game and was the most outstanding player of the Big 12’s conference tournament.
The 26-7 Cyclones get 16.5 points per game from forward Georges Niang (6-7, 240).
Iowa State can fill it up. The Eagles have to counter that with good team defense, NCCU senior shooting guard Jeremy Ingram said.
NCCU, a No. 14 seed, is seventh in the country in scoring defense, allowing 58.5 points per game.
So the game is shaping up to be a battle of wills, NCCU coach LeVelle Moton said. It’ll come down to which team is able to dictate the terms of what happens on the floor, he said.
The Eagles can score. They led the MEAC with 73.9 points per game.
Ingram, the MEAC player of the year and MEAC Tournament most outstanding player, averages 20.6 points per game.
But Ingram is the only player who Moton generally can count on to score in double figures.
That said, when Ingram was in a scoring slump earlier in the season, other Eagles found ways to put the ball in the hole, and NCCU kept winning.
NCCU senior Alfonzo Houston averages 9.6 points per game. He’s a thickly built guard who was assigned to defend Morgan State’s Justin Black in the championship game of the MEAC Tournament. Black scored 29 and 30 points, respectively in the first two games of the tournament but fouled out with nine points against NCCU.
A potential matchup might in the NCCU-Iowa State game might have Houston checking Kane, which could help keep Ingram from both wearing down too much and picking up fouls on the defensive end.
TALE OF THE TAPE: NCCU vs. IOWA STATE
|Opp. Avg. Pts.||73.9||58.5|
|Opp. FG Pct.||.414||.373|
|3-Pt. FG Pct.||.351||.338|
|Opp. 3-Pt. FG Pct.||.336||.295|
|Opp. 3-Pt. FG-Game||7.2||5.4|
IOWA STATE ROSTER
Iowa State Roster/117
Iowa State Cyclones Roster
The Associated Press
Coach: Fred Hoiberg
|3 Melvin Ejim||F||6-6||220||Sr||Toronto|
|4 Sherron Dorsey-Walker||G||6-4||200||Fr||Detroit|
|11 Monte Morris||G||6-2||170||Fr||Flint,||Mich.|
|15 Naz Long||G||6-4||205||So||Mississauga,||Ontario|
|21 Matt Thomas||G||6-3||200||Fr||Onalaska,||Wis.|
|22 Dustin Hogue||F||6-6||215||Jr||Yonkers,||N.Y.|
|24 Percy Gibson||C||6-9||255||Jr||Detroit|
|31 Georges Niang||F||6-7||240||So||Methuen,||Mass.|
|33 Tyler Ellerman||F||6-8||240||Sr||Dallas Center,||Iowa|
|42 Daniel Edozie||F||6-8||245||Jr||Compton,||Calif.|
|50 DeAndre Kane||G||6-4||200||Sr||Pittsburgh|
NC Central Roster/137
North Carolina Central Eagles Roster
The Associated Press
Coach: LeVelle Moton
|0 Dante Holmes||G||6-3||190||So||Baltimore|
|1 Jay Copeland||F||6-7||255||Jr||Suffolk,||Va.|
|2 Jordan Parks||F||6-7||200||Jr||Queens,||N.Y.|
|3 Juwan Moody||G||6-1||175||Fr||Pontiac,||Mich.|
|4 Kevin Crawford II||G||6-1||150||Fr||Blythewood,||S.C.|
|5 Ebuka Anyaorah||G||6-4||194||Sr||Suwanee,||Ga.|
|10 Karamo Jawara||F||6-8||220||Jr||Bergen,||Norway|
|12 Antonin Galaya||G||6-5||200||Sr||St. Martin,||French West Indies|
|13 Reggie Groves||G||6-2||190||Sr||Raleigh,||N.C.|
|14 Jeremy Ingram||G||6-3||175||Sr||Charlotte,||N.C.|
|32 Emanuel Chapman||G||6-1||160||Sr||Raleigh,||N.C.|
|40 Alfonzo Houston||G||6-3||190||Sr||Cleveland Heights,||Ohio,|