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A&T, NCCU Meet For A Third Time

Courtesy: NC A&T Sports Information
          Release: 03/13/2013
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The Aggies will try to end a four-game losing streak to N.C. Central. Photo by Charles E. Watkins
Courtesy: NC A&T Sports Information
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No. 7 North Carolina A&T (16-16) vs. No. 2 N.C. Central (22-8) 
 March 13, 2013
Time:  8 p.m.
Facility: The Scope      
Series: A&T leads, 74-67

PROBABLE STARTERS: G Lamont Middleton (6-3 Jr., 12.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.3 apg); G Jean Louisme (6-4 Sr., 9.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.6 apg); F Austin Witter (6-8 Sr., 6.3 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 3.0 bpg); F Adrian Powell (6-6 Sr, 12.1 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 1.8 spg); C Bruce Beckford (6-7 Fr., 7.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg).

CHIT CHAT:  North Carolina A&T continues postseason play tonight when they face N.C. Central in the quarterfinals of the MEAC Tournament. The Aggies have lost five straight to the Eagles and five out of the last six. In both losses this season, the Aggies lost by four in games where they made crucial mistakes in the clutch. In Greensboro in December, an intentional foul late gave the Eagles an opportunity to shoot four straight free throws in a 66-62 A&T loss. On Feb. 23, the Aggies went 6-for-19 from the line a 51-47 defeat. Tonight will mark the 142nd meeting between the two longtime rivals, but it will be just the third time they have met in the MEAC Tournament. The last conference tournament meeting came 33 years ago when the Eagles defeated the Aggies 80-79 in overtime. In the other two postseason games - 1974 and '76 - the Aggies were victorious.

From the coach:  
"It was a good win for the psyche of these young men. It's been a long time trying to get by this first round. Now we've eliminated that hurdle and we can concentrate on playing a very, very good N.C. Central team."   
North Carolina A&T head coach Cy Alexander on the MEAC Basketball Tournament  

It's A "Lock": The Aggies must keep the Eagles off the free throw line. In two wins this season, the Eagles went a combined 40 of 46 free throws to defeat the Aggies in close games.

The Opponent:  N.C. Central comes into today's game as the No. 2 seed in the tournament after a season where they went 15-1 in the conference, including two four-point wins over A&T. The Eagles have won five straight after losing at Savannah State on Feb. 16. The Eagles placed two players on All-MEAC's first team in guard Jeremy Ingram and forward Stanton Kidd. Ingram is the second-leading scorer in the conference at 15.9 points per game, while Kidd is the third-leading scorer at 14.5 points per game. Ray Willis was a second-team selection. Kidd has scored 38 points and grabbed 15 rebounds against A&T in two games.

 Potential Gameday Star power: North Carolina A&T: If the Aggies are going to win the MEAC championship, junior point guard Lamont Middleton will lead them there from the free throw line. Middleton has shot a conference-leading 194 free throws this season. If he is able to get redemption from his 4-for-11 free throw shooting performance in Durham on Feb. 23, the Aggies could be headed to the semis. N.C. Central: Jeremy Ingram hit big shots against A&T in Greensboro and in Durham. Ingram is 6-for-10 from 3-point range against A&T this season, and he has scored a combined 30 points.

The Magic Number For A&T: 50: The Aggies have shot 50 percent or better four times this season. They are undefeated when they hit at least half of their shots.

Before the Aggies played in their 7/10 game against Florida A&M on Tuesday, Austin Witter was presented his MEAC Defensive Player of the Year award by the conference.  

A big night could make Adrian Powell the 28th player in school history to score 1,000 points. Powell needs 21 points to reach the milestone.    

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