DURHAM -- After playing three games in five days the North Carolina A&T men's basketball coaching staff must give its players the day per NCAA rules dealing with participation hours. It couldn't come at a better time for head coach Cy Alexander. He wants to get his team as far away from basketball as possible after the Aggies lost to their chief rival 84-44 Wednesday night at McDougald-McLendon Gymnasium.
The Eagles (12-5, 3-1 MEAC) outscored the Aggies 44-10 in the paint and shot 25-for-49 from inside the 3-point arc for their most lopsided win in the 143-game history of the series. No Aggie had more than two field goals in the game as Jeremy Underwood led A&T (6-13, 2-2 MEAC) with eight points on 2-for-6 shooting.
"They outplayed us in every facet," said Alexander. "They out executed us, they were more competitive, they played better defense than us, they rebounded better than us, they took care of the basketball better than us and so I commend them. The score tells you they obviously outplayed us."
Both teams struggled to score early. A&T recorded seven blocks within the first 10 minutes of the game and the Aggies had just two field goals over the same span. A&T freshman point guard drove baseline to the basket for a layup to cut NCCU's lead to 18-15 with 5:37 remaining in the first half. It would be the Aggies final field goal of the first half. Meanwhile the Eagles scored on a 3-pointer from Jeremy Ingram which was followed up by an alley-oop dunk from Emanuel Chapman to Jordan Parks and the game was never close again. NCCU's 16-0 run ended with two Ingram free throws that gave the Eagles a 34-15 lead with 2:03 remaining in the first half.
"I told my team we should be embarrassed, but it is only one loss," said Alexander. "It doesn't go down as one loss by 40, it just goes down as one loss. Our coaching staff just has to give them some rest tomorrow and then we've got to get ready for (Morgan State). We can't dwell on this. We can't let this game beat us on Saturday. This game is over. We'll see these guys again in February."
The Aggies have a tough stretch coming up. They face Morgan State (6-10, 4-0 MEAC) at Corbett Sports Center on Saturday at 6 p.m., before playing Coppin State (6-12, 3-2 MEAC) on Monday at Corbett at 8 p.m. They play NCCU again on Feb. 22 at Corbett at 6 p.m.
"The way we look at it, if we can still win four out of five from this stretch of games we've been successful," said Alexander after the Aggies beat NJIT and Delaware State last Saturday and Monday respectively.
The Eagles were led by Ingram's 20 points. Parks had 17 points and seven rebounds off the bench and Chapman had nine assists.