GREENSBORO – The Greensboro Coliseum has been an unpleasant place for the North Carolina A&T men’s basketball team the last two times they have visited there to play crosstown rival UNC Greensboro.
Reminiscent to three years prior, the Aggies got off to a slow start against the Spartans at the coliseum. This time it resulted in an 83-50 loss Tuesday night as both teams were playing in their respective season openers.
Three years ago, the Spartans got off to an 18-2 start over the first 6 ½ minutes of the game. On Tuesday, the Spartans jumped out to an 18-2 advantage over the first five minutes of the game. What also made the two nights similar was that the Aggies had many newcomers who have never played together trying to gel against an experienced UNCG team.
“I have figured out how to mesh talent over the last couple of years and this year is no different,” said N.C. A&T coach Jay Joyner who has led the Aggies to 39 wins over the past two seasons despite having numerous newcomers each year.
“We do have new faces and guys have new roles, so we just have to come together and figure it out,” Joyner continued. “I knew it was going to be a tough night when we were missing the chippies in the first half.”
The Aggies did settle in at one point in the first half as Ronald Jackson cut the Spartans lead to 24-12 with 7:25 remaining in the first half. But UNCG went on a 9-0 run highlighted by a 3-pointer from Keyshaun Langley to give the Spartans a 19-point advantage with 5 ½ minutes remaining in the first half.
UNCG’s lead was as big as 23 in the first half and they led 42-20 at halftime. The Aggies were led by Jackson who finished with 17 points and six rebounds on 5-for-8 shooting. It was the only Aggie in double figures. Kam Langley who guarded his brother Keyshaun during portions of the game finished with seven points and nine rebounds.
“As the leader of the program I know we have to make some fixes,” said Joyner. “But I also know we’re going to be fine. We didn’t want to start the season this way, but if you’re being optimistic you rather get it out of your system now.”
Kaleb Hunter led UNCG with 17 points and seven rebounds. The Aggies will play their home opener 7 p.m., Friday at Corbett Sports Center against Charleston Southern. Corbett will be a nice place for the Aggies to try to recover. They are 23-2 there over the past two seasons.