North Carolina A&T (8-18, 4-7 MEAC) at S.C. State (8-16, 4-7 MEAC)
Date: February 17, 2014
Time: 8 p.m.
Facility: Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center
Series: A&T leads 47-41
Radio: 1200, 1230, 1320 AM; Play-by-Play: Spencer Turkin
PROBABLE STARTERS: G Lamont Middleton (6-3, 205, Sr., 17.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.2 apg); G Richaud Pack (6-3, 183, Sr., 18.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.6 apg); G Denzel Keyes (6-4, 210, Fr., 1.2 ppg, 0.9 rpg, 0.1 apg); F Bruce Beckford (6-7, 215, So., 10.7 ppg, 7.7 rpg); Steven Burrough (6-9, 245, Fr., 1.3 ppg, 1.4 rpg).
Aggies Overview: A&T is in Orangeburg, S.C., tonight looking to get much-needed win after losing 5 of 6 to fall to 4-7 in the MEAC. The Aggies were hampered last week by bad weather in the Triad area that forced them to miss practice Wednesday and Thursday. They were also delayed getting into Savannah, Ga., after a traffic jam forced them to only practice an hour on Friday. The Aggies have also been hurt by injuries lately. Bruce Beckford missed two recent games with an ankle injury. Jerome Simmons hurt his knee in practice on Friday and senior point guard Jeremy Underwood left the Savannah State game early with an injured ankle. The Aggies still have two of the biggest scoring threats in the conference on the floor in Lamont Middleton and Richaud Pack.
S.C. State Overview: S.C. State is slowly starting to come out of the doldrums the program has been in over the past few seasons. The Bulldogs went through a period where they lost 29 straight MEAC games. That streak was snapped last season against the Aggies at SHM Memorial Center. This season the Bulldogs have four conference wins. They posted just seven conference wins over the previous three seasons. Matthew Hezekiah leads S.C. State at 13.0 points per game. Daryll Palmer is the top rebounder at 6.7 per game. Hezekiah and Palmer are excellent offensive rebounders. They have 51 and 50 offensive boards respectively. The Bulldogs are third in the conference in offensive rebounding. Hezekiah is fourth in the league in field goal percentage (.551).
Potential Star: The Aggies are need of a better defensive effort. Denzel Keyes’ increased playing time could be a benefit for the Aggies. His athleticism should help the Aggies defensively, which then could translate into more transition baskets.
News & Notes:
• S.C. State defeated the Aggies 72-70 last season at the SHM Memorial Center. It snapped a 29-game conference losing streak for the Bulldogs.
• A&T head coach Cy Alexander spent 16 seasons at S.C. State, where he won five MEAC championships and more than 70 percent of his conference games. He also won 27 MEAC tournament games at SCSU and he went 24-18 against A&T.
• Richaud Pack has scored 20 or more points in seven out of his last 10 games.
From the coach:
“It’s just a game. Right now as bad as we’re playing, I need to worry about the Aggies. I can’t concern myself with the South Carolina State Bulldogs. I wish them well, but it’s just another game. We’re just trying to win a game even if it is the Little Sisters of the Poor. We need a win and hopefully it will be South Carolina State on Monday.” Head men’s basketball coach Cy Alexander on returning to S.C. State where he coached 16 seasons