Aggies Look For Third Straight Win
Morgan State (5-10, 2-2 MEAC) at North
Carolina A&T (9-10, 2-2 MEAC)
Date: January 26, 2013
Time: 4 p.m.
Facility: Corbett Sports Center
Series: A&T leads, 42-34
Live Webstream: www.ncataggies.com; Walter Johnson (play-by-play); Terry Cooper (analyst)
PROBABLE STARTERS: G Lamont Middleton (6-3 Jr., 13.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.8 apg); G Jean Louisme (6-4 Sr., 10.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.6 apg); F Austin Witter (6-8 Sr., 6.1 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 2.9 bpg); F Adrian Powell (6-6 Sr, 12.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.7 spg); C Bruce Beckford (6-7 Fr., 7.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg)
CHIT CHAT: North Carolina A&T is one of the hottest defensive teams in the nation. A&T's last two opponents have shot a combined 24.3 percent in what has resulted in two blowout wins for the Aggies. This evening, the Aggies will face a determined Morgan State team coming off of a tough two-point loss to Norfolk State. Morgan State will be without head coach Todd Bozeman, who was administered a one-game suspension by the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. In his place will be Kevin McClain, who coached several games in Bozeman's place last season. The Aggies will once again turn to senior leader Adrian Powell for their scoring needs. Powell, a Conover, N.C., native is coming off of a 23-point performance in A&T's win over Howard. Defensively, Austin Witter is second in the conference in blocked shots.
From the coach:
"We've said from day one that our indemnity needed to be on the defensive end. When we were going through our minor losing streak, we were still playing good defense. We just couldn't make shots. But now that we've raised our intensity defensively and our shooting is coming around a little bit, we're looking a lot better. But if we're going to make any noise in the MEAC, we've got to do it from the defensive end."
North Carolina A&T head coach Cy Alexander on Georgia Southern
It's A "Lock": It has been tough for opponents to score against the Aggies in the first half. Florida A&M and Howard scored 13 points each in the first half against A&T over the last two games.
The Opponent: Senior DeWayne Jackson returns as Morgan State's leading scorer. The senior is averaging 14.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.3 steals per game. In five games against A&T in his career, Jackson is averaging 14.8 points and 5.2 rebounds in 142 minutes of action as the Bears are 3-2 in those contests. He is also shooting 37.3 percent from the field and is 11-for-14 from the free throw line. Morgan State is coming off of a 73-71 loss to defending MEAC Champion Norfolk State. The Bears lost despite shooting 54.5 percent from the field in the second half.
Potential Gameday Star power: North Carolina A&T: Junior Jeremy Underwood has become the Aggies dependable sixth man off the bench. Throughout the season he has hit big free throws to help A&T clinch victories, and he provides the Aggies with 20-25 minutes of solid point guard play each game. Over A&T's last two games, he has scored 16 points (5-for-9 from the field) in 42 minutes of action. Morgan State: Junior guard Justin Black has scored in double figures in his last seven games. He had 21 points against Illinois State and 20 against South Carolina. Black is averaging 13.5 points and leads the Bears in assists at 3.4 per game.
The Magic Number For A&T: 20: North Carolina A&T senior forward Adrian Powell has scored 20-plus points four times this season. The Aggies are 3-1 when Powell has scored 20 or more in 2012-13.
In the last two games, teams are just 3-for-30 against the Aggies from 3-point range. The Aggies are third in the league in field goal percentage defense.
Adrian Powell and Austin Witter are competing for the most career starts. Powell has made 75 career starts, while Witter has made 74. The Aggies are 35-40 when Powell starts, and they are 33-41 when Witter starts. The Aggies are 14-26 when DaMetrius Upchurch starts.