North Carolina A&T (3-11, 0-0 MEAC) at Bethune-Cookman (2-15, 0-2 MEAC)
Date: January 11, 2014
Time: 4 p.m.
Facility: Moore Gymnasium
Series: A&T leads, 38-31
Radio: ESPN Radio (1200, 1230 or 1320 AM…or listen online at triadsports.com); Play-by-play: Spencer Turkin
PROBABLE STARTERS: G Jeremy Underwood (6-0, 185, Sr., 6.5 ppg, 3.0 apg, 2.9 rpg); G Lamont Middleton (6-3, 205, Sr., 17.9 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2.6 apg); G Richaud Pack (6-3, 183, Sr., 16.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.1 apg) F Bruce Beckford (6-7, 215, 12.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg); C Bryan Akinkugbe (6-9, 225, Jr., 5.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg).
Aggies Overview: North Carolina A&T is the only MEAC school yet to play a conference game during the 2013-14 season. That will all change on Saturday when the Aggies travel to Daytona Beach, Fla., to face the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats. The Aggies are looking for their first win in Daytona Beach since 1995. A&T has lost 16 straight and have not swept the Bethune-Cookman/Florida A&M trip since 1995. If the Aggies break the long losing streak in Daytona Beach, they will also end their six-game losing streak. As the Aggies entered the conference season, they are looking for their first regular-season title since the 1987-88 season. The Aggies will rely on Lamont Middleton and Richaud Pack to make this happen. Middleton is third in the league in scoring, while Pack is fifth. Both men have been in double figures in every game this season except one.
Bethune-Cookman Overview: Like the Aggies, Bethune-Cookman is trying to end a long losing streak. The Wildcats have lost 13 straight, including a 65-51 loss to Northern Illinois on Jan. 3. The Wildcats have also been away from a lot like the Aggies. Bethune-Cookman has not played at home since Nov. 21. Saturday will mark the end of the Wildcats’ 12-game road trip. The Wildcats have played two MEAC games. They lost 59-45 to Norfolk State on Dec. 7 and two days later they lost at Hampton 85-52. Malik Jackson leads the Wildcats in scoring at 10.7 points per game. Jackson had 20 points in B-CU’s victory in Daytona Beach last season.
Potential Star: Before the Aggies played Charlotte, Richaud Pack was 3-for-13 from 3-point range in his previous three games. But against the 49ers last Saturday, Pack was 3-for-6 from 3-point range and scored a team-high 18 points. It appears his shot is coming back at the right time.
News & Notes:
• Lamont Middleton played well against the Wildcats last season. In two games, he averaged 21.0 points, shot .520 (13-for-25) from the field and .813 (13-for-16) from the free throw line.
• The Aggies enter the conference season as the defending MEAC champions. No other school in the MEAC has entered the conference as the defending champs more times than A&T. This season marks the 16th time they have entered conference play as the defending champs.
• A&T is just one of three teams in the MEAC outrebounding their opponents this season. The Aggies average 1.4 more rebounds than their opponents this season.
From the coach:
“I think they are a team like the Aggies where their record doesn’t indicate the potential of the team. They have played quite a few games without Ricky Johnson, a good scorer, and Malik Johnson torched us last year, so we have tremendous respect for his ability to shoot the ball. We’re excited about finally getting into conference play and we’re looking forward to putting together a 40-minute performance. Not 25, not 30, but our goal is to play at a high level for 40 minutes because that’s something we felt we haven’t done all year.”
Men’s Basketball Coach Cy Alexander on the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats