DOVER, DEL. (January 12, 2019) – North Carolina A&T put on an impressive 3-point shooting display in the first half of their men’s basketball game against Delaware State Saturday evening at Memorial Hall not rivaled by many.
The Aggies connected on a school-record 10 first-half 3-pointers on their way to a 93-70 blowout of the Hornets. N.C. A&T was 10-for-13 (.769) in the first half from 3-point range and 14-for-23 for the game to shoot 60.9 percent coming short of the single-game record of .647 (10 or more threes taken) set in a 95-85 win over Maryland Eastern Shore on Feb. 16, 2008.
The main 3-point shooting contributors for the Aggies were graduate forward Terry Harris and junior Qua Copeland. Harris was 7-for-11 from three to finish with 25 points. Harris has scored 20 or more points four times this season. Copeland was the nuisance for the Hornets. Copeland was 6-for-8 from 3-point range and finished with 22 points. It was his second time scoring 20 or more.
Senior Milik Gantz and freshman Tyrone Lyons also scored in double figures as Gantz had 12 points on 6-for-9 shooting and Lyons had 10 thanks to a 3-for-4 night from the floor.
N.C. A&T (7-9, 2-0 MEAC), who have won three straight, shot 63.2 percent from the floor to mark the third straight game they have shot better than 50 percent.
“I thought we shot the ball well tonight because we shared the basketball,” said N.C. A&T coach Jay Joyner. “I’m just going to keep coaching the right way and hopefully they will get it. If you play good basketball, disciplined basketball, sound basketball for 40 minutes you’re going to be successful.”
Joyner’s team was certainly successful from beyond 20-feet, 9-inches. But early on it was a back-and-forth 3-point shooting contest. Harris made his first three, 3:15 into the game to give the Aggies an 8-5 lead. DSU’s Ameer Bennett connected on the Hornets first three to tie the game at 10. Harris returned the favor with another three followed by a Copeland trey to give the Aggies a 16-10 advantage. Saleik Edwards kept the splash party going as he swished a three. Copeland, who hit his first five 3-pointers on Saturday, hit another to put the Aggies ahead 19-13 seven minutes into the game.
Kevin Larkin had an answer for Copeland to bring the Hornets back to within three. DSU’s Pinky Wiley then got into the act later with a 3-pointer to cut the Aggies deficit to 22-19. Bennett then hit a jump shot just inside the free throw line to slice the lead to one. Larkin gave the Hornets the lead with another short jump shot with 9:39 remaining in the first half. Larkin added two free throws to give DSU (3-13, 0-3 MEAC) their biggest lead of the game.
N.C. A&T superior 3-point shooting then took over. Copeland nailed one to tie the game at 25. Gantz then drove to the basket, cuffed the ball and then scored on a layup to put the Aggies ahead again, this time, 27-25 with 7 ½ minutes remaining. The Aggies never trailed again.
After the two teams traded basket, Harris pulled up for a deep three to give the Aggies a 32-27 lead. A Harris steal led to a transition layup by Gantz to put the Aggies in front by seven. Another Harris three completed the Aggies 8-0 run as they took a 37-27 lead with 3:33 to play in the first half.
Wiley kept hitting threes for DSU as he ended the Aggies run by netting another perimeter shot. But Copeland found Langley inside with a bounce as Langley’s layup was followed with back-to-back threes from Harris to give the Aggies a 45-31 lead with 93 seconds remaining in the half. A 3-point play by senior Aaren Edmead helped the Aggies go into the locker room with a 48-33 lead.
DSU did open the second half with a three to cut the Aggies lead to 12. But N.C. A&T remained hot from the outside. When Harris hit a three at the 16:16 mark, the Aggies took a 58-38 lead. Gantz followed with a layup and graduate center Ibrahim Sylla hit two free throws for a 62-38 Aggies lead. After Bennett hit a three, Harris followed his own miss with a bucket and Gantz got a breakaway dunk to give the Aggies their biggest lead of the game at 66-41 with 13:26 to play.
“I thought we played the right way most of the game and we were rewarded for it,” said Joyner. “We still have a lot of work to do when it comes to finishing. But we’ll take this win to Maryland Eastern Shore and be pleased with it.”
Wiley led the Hornets with 18 points. The Aggies will play MDES, 7:30 p.m., Monday at the Hytche Center.