North Carolina A&T (7-15, 3-4 MEAC) at Howard (5-17, 3-4 MEAC)
Date: February 3, 2014
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Facility: Burr Gymnasium
Series: A&T leads 58-39
ESPN Radio: (1200, 1230, 1320 AM); Listen online at triadsports.com; play-by-play: Spencer Turkin
ESPN Pregame Show: 7 p.m.
PROBABLE STARTERS: G Jeremy Underwood (6-0, 185, Sr., 7.5 ppg, 2.8 apg, 2.8 rpg); G Lamont Middleton (6-3, 205, Sr., 16.4 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2.5 apg); G Richaud Pack (6-3, 183, Sr., 17.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.5 apg) F Bruce Beckford (6-7, 215, 11.2 ppg, 8.1 rpg); C Bryan Akinkugbe (6-9, 225, Jr., 4.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.4 bpg).
Aggies Overview: A&T will try to figure its early-game issues tonight at Howard’s Burr Gymnasium. The Aggies have faced 24-4 and 31-9 first half deficits in their last two first halves. The Aggies never overcame their 24-4 hole to Coppin State but they did make a rally against Maryland Eastern Shore on Saturday. The Aggies, who trailed by as many as 27 against UMES, cut the lead to two before turnovers and missed free throws ruined the comeback. Richaud Pack had another solid game. He scored 21 points, which gave him his third straight game of scoring 20-plus points. He is the first Aggie to score 20-plus points in three straight games since Thomas Coleman did it during the 2010-11 season where he scored 20-plus points in seven straight games.
Howard Overview: Howard’s offense largely relies on two players – James Daniel and Prince Okoroh. Daniel leads the MEAC in scoring at 20.3 points per game. Daniel had 33 points against Maryland Eastern Shore and 31 against Florida A&M. He only has 24 points in his last two games, however. Okoroh is the eighth-leading scorer in the league at 16.0 points per game. He had 27 points against College of Charleston and 24 against Liberty. The Bison is under the leadership of Kevin Nickelberry. Nickelberry will be coaching his 12th game against the Aggies. He was 4-2 against A&T as Hampton’s head coach. He is 2-3 against the Aggies as Howard’s head coach.
Potential Star: The Aggies are looking for a strong defensive performance to lead them to their second road win of the season. Jeremy Underwood’s defense on Daniel will be key in an Aggies victory.
News & Notes:
• From 1976-87, A&T head coach Cy Alexander was an assistant coach at Howard under A.B. Williamson. During his tenure there, Howard fought for the MEAC title eight times versus A&T with the Aggies winning seven of those matchups.
• Bruce Beckford still leads the conference in rebounding. He had 73 boards in his first 11 games. He has 80 boards in his last eight.
• The Aggies held the Bison to its lowest point total in series history when they won 61-37 last season at Corbett Sports Center.
From the coach:
“This weekend is very important for our team. Right now no one in the conference is running away from the rest of the pack. We’re right there in the middle. If we want to fight our way to the top and be one of those top-4 teams, we’re going to have to win some road games.” Men’s Basketball coach Cy Alexander on the Aggies upcoming road games over the weekend