Savannah State (12-13, 9-1 MEAC) vs. North Carolina A&T (15-10, 8-2 MEAC)
Date: February 12, 2018
Time: 8 p.m. Facility: Tiger Arena
Series: SSU leads, 7-4
Radio: ESPN Triad Radio, 1320AM/1230 AM/93.7 FM/104.9 FM
PROBABLE STARTERS: F Davaris McGowens (6-7, 230, Sr., 9.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg); G Aaren Edmead (5-10, 165, Jr., 8.8 ppg, 2.7 apg); G Kameron Langley (6-2, 205, Fr., 6.3 ppg, 4.7 apg); G Devonte Boykins (6-2, 180, Gr., 9.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg); F Femi Olujobi (6-8, 233, Jr., 17.5 ppg, 7.8 rpg).
AGGIES OVERVIEW: The MEAC’s biggest game of 2017-18 season has arrived as the No. 1 team —Savannah State — will face the No. 2 team in N.C. A&T. The Tigers are 9-1 in the MEAC with their only loss coming at Morgan State while N.C. A&T defeated Morgan State at home on Jan. 13. A&T’s two defeats were at Howard (Jan. 22) and at S.C. State (Feb. 10). The Tigers defeated SCSU 111-99. In N.C. A&T’s recent loss to the S.C. State Bulldogs, they played without leading scorer Femi Olujobi. Senior Davaris McGowens, who is leading the team in scoring in conference play, filled in with a career-high 26 points to go along with 10 rebounds. The Aggies did allow the Bulldogs to shoot 68.2 percent for the game and 77.3 percent in the first half. The Aggies are 11-2 when they shoot better than opponents, but they are 4-8 when they do not.
SAVANNAH STATE OVERVIEW: In winning their eighth straight game, a 97-94 overtime win over Morgan at Tiger Arena, the Tigers were led by Alante Fenner’s 46 points on 16-for-17 shooting from the free throw line. In their up-tempo style, the Tigers are averaging 73.1 shots per game. A&T is averaging 56.8 shots per game. The Tigers are led by Horace Broadnax who is in his 13th season. When the Tigers first became a member of the MEAC, they were a defensive oriented team. Now, the Tigers are known for their offense. SSU leads the conference and the nation in 3-point field goals made (305), 3-point field goal attempts (1,105) and 3-point goals made per game (12.2). They also lead the league in scoring offense (85.6) and assists per game (15.6). Dexter McClanahan leads the Tigers in scoring at 15.8 points per game. McClanahan, Fenner (13.4 ppg), Zach Sellers (10.4 ppg), Javaris Jenkins (10.0 ppg), Austin Dasent (8.8 ppg) have all hit more than 30 3-pointers this season.
Stepping Up: Senior Davaris McGowens has not only provided the Aggies with needed scoring lately, but he is also becoming a factor on the boards. In his last six games, McGowens is averaging 9.3 rebounds. He had his eighth career double-double on Saturday with 26 points and 10 rebounds.
News & Notes:
- N.C. A&T fifth-year forward Denzel Keyes has worn No. 33 and No. 23 this season. He prefers No. 23 but had to wear No. 33 because his No. 23 jersey had not arrived from Nike. Also, he must wear No. 33 in the Aggies gold jerseys because No. 23 is not available. In 18 games as No. 33, he is averaging 6.7 points. In seven games as No. 23, he is averaging 10.0 points.
- N.C. A&T’s short history with Savannah State, which will come to an end after next season with the Tigers returning to Division II, has featured three different Aggie head coaches in Jerry Eaves (2011-12), Cy Alexander (2012-16) and Jay Joyner (2016-present). SSU leads the series 7-4 as Eaves was 1-2, Alexander went 2-4 and Joyner is 1-1. SSU head coach Horace Broadnax has been the Tigers head coach for all 11 meetings.
- The Aggies are going after their 16th win of the season. It will guarantee a winning regular season for the Aggies. The Aggies have only had two winnings seasons in the past 22 years.
- The last time the Aggies reached 20 wins during the regular season was the 1987-88 season. The last time the A&T won 20 games in a season was the 2012-13 season. The Aggies are amid a 12-game turnaround.