NCCU wins long-awaited meeting with MEAC power Norfolk St.
Senior backcourt mates Jeremy Ingram and Emanuel Chapman combined for 32 points Thursday night as N.C. Central held off Norfolk State 76-68 in the first meeting between the two MEAC powers in the last two years.
Regular-season MEAC champion NCCU came up a game short in race for the league’s top seed last year, losing once in conference play while Norfolk State was negotiating a perfect MEAC season — but the teams never met before each was bounced from the conference tournament in monumental opening game upsets.
NCCU, which has already clinched at least a berth in the National Invitation Tournament by virtue of its regular-season title, has to win the MEAC Tournament next week to grab the league’s only NCAA Tournament berth.
Norfolk State enters the tournament as the No. 3 seed, NCCU the No. 1.
The Eagles won each half of Thursday’s game by identical 38-35 margins as Ingram scored 19 points, Jordan Parks 14, Chapman 13 and Alfonzo Houston 10.
Norfolk State won the battle of the backboards, outrebounding the Eagles 34-26 but NCCU held the hot shooting hand all night, finishing 27 of 51 from the field for 52.9 percent to just 42.6 percent (23 of 54) for Norfolk State.
About the only area NCCU slipped badly was at the free throw line where the Eagles only managed to hit 17 of 30 tries (56.7 percent) while Norfolk State was 12 of 15 (80 percent).
Jay Copeland and the diminutive Chapman led NCCU with six rebounds apiece and Karamo Jawara had six assists to lead the Eagles. Chapman, the Eagles floor leader, had four while playing all 40 minutes, the only player on either team to do so.
Leading by 3 at halftime, NCCU (25-5, 15-1 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) used a 16-5 run capped by a Chapman jumper to build its largest lead of the game 68-53 with 4 minutes to go.
But Norfolk State (17-13, 11-5) battled back, scoring 13 of the next 16 points, pulling to within 71-66 on a Pendarvis Williams layup with 36 seconds left before the drive stalled. The first-place Eagles protected what was left of their lead from the free throw line down the stretch.
Malcolm Hawkins led the Spartans with 31 points and six rebounds.
|NC CENTRAL 76, NORFOLK ST. 70|
Percentages: FG .529, FT .567.
3-Point Goals: 5-12, .417 (Ingram 2-4, Groves 2-5, Chapman 1-2, Anyaorah 0-1).
Team Rebounds: 1.
Blocked Shots: 2 (Parks 2).
Turnovers: 5 (Chapman 3, Houston, Ingram).
Steals: 1 (Ingram).
Technical Fouls: None.
Percentages: FG .426, FT .800.
3-Point Goals: 12-19, .632 (Hawkins 8-10, Phelps 2-3, Alexis 1-2, Williams 1-3, Maye 0-1).
Team Rebounds: 3.
Blocked Shots: 7 (Goode 3, Williams 2, Gaston, Maye).
Turnovers: 15 (Phelps 4, Fuentes 4, Hawkins 2, Gaston, Alexis, Williams).
Steals: 4 (Alexis, Gaston, Phelps, Fuentes).
Technical Fouls: None.
Officials_Quez Crawford, Mel Chettum, Jermaine Rogers.