Bobcats Hold off A&T Despite McCray's Career Night
ATHENS, Ohio (December 28, 2017) – North Carolina A&T sophomore Cinia McCray made all six of her 3-point attempts in a 72-65 setback to Ohio University Thursday night in women’s basketball action at the Convocation Center. The Aggies shot a season-high 61 percent (25-for-41) from the field including 7-for-10 from 3-point range as McCray finished with a career-high 23 points.
Two other Aggies finished in double figures as sophomore Alexus Lessears scored 13 points and had a team-high eight rebounds. Senior Kala Green finished with 13. N.C. A&T outscored the Bobcats 36-18 in the paint and 36-32 in the second half.
“Growing pains still,” said N.C. A&T coach Tarrell Robinson. “We got off to a horrible start with 24 turnovers in the first half especially in the first quarter. It took us a minute to settle in and that is one of the downsides of going on a break. We ended it right with a win against Western Carolina as we started to figure out some things. Then, we had to take five or six days off with a young group and you get what you got.”
McCray scored 14 first-half points giving the Aggies a boost after a disappointing slow start. The Bobcats (6-5) led 17-8 after the first quarter by forcing 12 Aggie turnovers. McCray hit four shots from downtown helping N.C. A&T (4-7) recover with 21 second-quarter points. But the Bobcats increased their lead by hitting 11 free throws in the second quarter as they went into the locker room leading 40-29 at the half.
Lessears picked up the Aggie scoring in the third period with eight points as she dominated in the paint. N.C. A&T made all but three shots (9-for-12) in the third quarter including 6 of 8 over the final three minutes to cut the Bobcat advantage to single digits, 57-48.
Green had seven fourth-quarter points anchoring a late Aggie rally. McCray’s final three brought the deficit to five, 57-52, within the first minute and a half of the period. Ohio responded with a 3-pointer of their own and made a pair of free throws stretching the lead back to double digits, 62-52, at the six-minute mark.
A final 12-2 run for the Aggies came on behalf of Green and graduate forward Jade Scaife. The pair got N.C. A&T to within two, 66-64, with 1:07 remaining in regulation. Ohio’s top scorer Amani Burke crushed the Aggies with a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 41 seconds to go. McCray’s drive to the basket fell short on the ensuing possession and N.C. A&T was forced to foul.
Burke led the Bobcats with 18 points. Cierra Hooks had 14 points while Gabby Burris added 11 points.
“I told them valiant effort in the second half. We outscored them both quarters but they hit some big shots,” said Robinson. “I cannot take away anything from Coach Bolden and his team, but I told our team we still beat ourselves. It was a good effort from some individuals like McCray and Lessears. We have one more game before we start our run at our conference championship.”
Up next for the Aggies is St. Andrews in the Corbett Sports Center for their final non-conference matchup of the season on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.