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Aggies Face Tough Challenge In Morgan State

Courtesy: NC A&T Sports Information
          Release: 01/25/2014
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Lamont Middleton, the Aggies second-leading scorer, is looking to score in double figures for the first time in three games. Photo by Charles E. Watkins
Courtesy: NC A&T Sports Information
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Morgan State (6-10, 4-0 MEAC) at North Carolina A&T (6-13, 2-2 MEAC)  
Date:
 January 25, 2014   
Time: 6 p.m.
Facility: Corbett-Sports Center   
Series: A&T leads 49-40    
Webstream: www.ncataggies.com: Play-by-Play: Spencer Gwynn, Color: Terry Cooper
PROBABLE STARTERS:
G Jeremy Underwood (6-0, 185, Sr., 8.1 ppg, 2.9 apg, 2.9 rpg); G Lamont Middleton (6-3, 205, Sr., 16.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2.5 apg); G Richaud Pack (6-3, 183, Sr., 17.1 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 1.4 apg) F Bruce Beckford (6-7, 215, 11.8 ppg, 7.6 rpg); C Bryan Akinkugbe (6-9, 225, Jr., 5.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg).

Aggies Overview:  A&T is trying to erase from its memory what happened to it at N.C. Central Wednesday. The Aggies were coming off a stretch of where they played two games in three days, including a nationally-televised game on Monday. Now that they have caught their breaths, they must now get prepared to face Morgan State while trying to overcome the schedule maker’s sense of humor. A&T last four MEAC opponents have, including the Bears tonight, are teams the Aggies defeated in the MEAC tournament last March to win the championship. Florida A&M and N.C. Central were able to avenge their losses, while Delaware State fell to the Aggies in Corbett. Morgan State and A&T met in the finals, where the Aggies were a 57-54 winner. The Aggies may be able to match Morgan State’s motivation because the Bears come into the game undefeated in the conference.

Morgan State Overview: Morgan State comes into today’s game with an outstanding 1-2 punch in the post and on the perimeter. Guard Justin Black is a candidate for MEAC Player of the Year. The senior averages 18.5 points per game and ranks second in the conference in scoring. He’s had 24 points in MSU’s last two outings – wins over Norfolk State and Hampton. The inside scoring is handled by Ian Chiles. He averages 15.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game. He is second in the league in field goal percentage (.572) and fourth in blocks. The Bears are under the leadership of head coach Todd Bozeman. In eight seasons at MSU, Bozeman’s teams have played for the MEAC tournament title five times, including last year’s loss to A&T.

Potential Star: It has to be Lamont Middleton. The talented senior guard is due for a bounce-back game after failing to score in double figures in his last three games.

News & Notes:

Morgan State and A&T have had a knack for playing each other in the MEAC tournament lately. They have played one another in three of the last four MEAC tourneys. Prior to this stretch, the last time the two teams met in the tournament was 1997.

• The Aggies are 22-8 against the Bears in Corbett, but the Bears have won three out of the last four matchups in Corbett.

• For the first time all season, A&T guard Richaud Pack did not have a field goal when he went 0-for-7 from the floor against N.C. Central on Wednesday.  

From the coach:

“We cannot let Wednesday’s game beat us on Saturday against Morgan State. We’ll play (N.C. Central) again in February. As embarrassing as this was for us, we can’t bring it back. It’s over. We have to move on to the next and that’s an undefeated team in Morgan State. We have to understand that teams are after us because we won the championship last year and stand up to the challenge.” Men’s Basketball Coach Cy Alexander on the Aggies bouncing back from a blowout loss

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