S.C. State (9-18, 5-9 MEAC) at North Carolina A&T (8-21, 4-10 MEAC)
Date: March 3, 2014
Time: 7 p.m.
Facility: Corbett Sports Center
Series: A&T leads 47-42
Webstream: www.ncataggies.com; Play-by-Play: Spencer Gwynn; Color: Terry Cooper
PROBABLE STARTERS: G Lamont Middleton (6-3, 205, Sr., 17.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.2 apg); G Jeremy Underwood (6-0, 190, Sr., 7.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 3.0 apg); G Denzel Keyes (6-4, 210, Fr., 1.8 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 0.1 apg); F Bruce Beckford (6-7, 215, So., 11.2 ppg, 7.4 rpg); Steven Burrough (6-9, 245, Fr., 1.3 ppg, 1.3 rpg).
Aggies Overview: A&T is looking for a win heading into next week’s MEAC tournament. Head coach Cy Alexander wants to avoid playing as a 12th or 13th seed heading into the tournament because that means A&T will have to go from playing Hampton on the road on Thursday night to playing in a Monday night game in Norfolk, Va., on Monday night against the MEAC’s fourth or fifth seed. If the Aggies can grab the 10th or 11th seed, they will play on Tuesday night, giving the Aggies an extra day of rest before trying to defend their title. The Aggies hope to have Richaud Pack back in time for the tournament. He has missed the Aggies last two games, both losses. Denzel Keyes has emerged in his absence. Keyes had a season-high 10 points and four offensive rebounds in the Aggies overtime loss to Savannah State on Saturday.
S.C. State Overview: S.C. State is slowly starting to come out of the doldrums the program has been in over the past few seasons. The Bulldogs went through a period where they lost 29 straight MEAC games. That streak was snapped last season against the Aggies. This season the Bulldogs have five conference wins. They posted just seven conference wins over the previous three seasons. Matthew Hezekiah leads the Bulldogs at 12.9 points per game. Daryll Palmer is the top rebounder at 7.1 rebounds per game. Hezekiah had 17 points and 12 rebounds on 8-for-11 shooting in the Bulldogs overtime win over A&T two weeks ago. The Bulldogs out-rebounded the Aggies 44-31 in Orangeburg with 17 of those rebounds coming on the offensive end.
Potential Star: Denzel Keyes had seven points and four rebounds two weeks ago in Orangeburg, S.C., against S.C. State. It was his first career start. Keyes has now started three games and had four offensive rebounds the last time out against Savannah State.
News & Notes:
• The Bulldogs have lost five straight games at Corbett Sports Center. Their last win in Greensboro was a 62-61 victory on Dec. 3, 2005.
• A&T senior guard Lamont Middleton needs just 32 points to become the 28th Aggie to score 1,000 points in a career.
• The Aggies have won 10 of the last 14 meetings against the Bulldogs.
From the coach:
“We have to regroup mentally to get ready for South Carolina State. We have to go back and watch film and lift those young men up. That’s a down locker room right now, and we don’t have long to try to lift them up. We have to stay positive, talk about the things we didn’t do well and keep them motivated because we know next week we get another crack at this thing. The season starts over next week in the (MEAC) tournament, and we have as good a chance as any.” Head men’s basketball Cy Alexander on the Aggies Monday night tilt with S.C. State