No. 8 Howard (7-24) vs. No. 9 North Carolina A&T (9-22)
Date: March 11, 2014
Time: 4 p.m.
Facility: Norfolk Scope Arena
Series: A&T leads 58-40
ESPN Radio: 1200, 1230, 1320; play-by-play: Spencer Turkin; Website: triadsports.com
PROBABLE STARTERS: G Lamont Middleton (6-3, 205, Sr., 17.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.1 apg); G Jeremy Underwood (6-0, 190, Sr., 7.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 3.0 apg); F Khary Doby (6-6, 206, Fr., 3.4 ppg, 2.4 rpg); F Waylan Siverand (6-7, 190, Jr., 3.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg).
Aggies Overview: The penalty was severe for North Carolina A&T. Sophomore forward Bruce Beckford was suspended for two games by the MEAC for being ejected from the Aggies March 6 game at Hampton. Beckford is the Aggies third-leading scorer and the team’s leading rebounder. Without Beckford the Aggies must move forward in a difficult bracket at the 2014 MEAC Basketball Championship Tournament. The Aggies open by playing a Howard team that defeated A&T 68-60 on Feb. 3 in Washington, D.C. If the Aggies are able to get past a strong Bison team, No. 1 seed N.C. Central is waiting for them in a 6 p.m., game Wednesday at Scope Arena. The Aggies will rely heavily on third-team All-MEAC selection Lamont Middleton and Richaud Pack, who shares the team’s scoring lead with Middleton.
Howard Overview: Howard is led by MEAC Rookie of the Year James Daniel. Daniel leads the conference in scoring at 21.7 points per game. In Howard’s first game against the Aggies, Daniels finished with 23 points on 14-for-16 shooting at the free throw line. Prince Okoroh is the Bison’s second-leading scorer. He averages 14.1 points and 5.5 rebounds to lead the Bison. Okoroh had 11 points and seven boards in Howard’s win. The Bison features nine freshmen on the roster. Howard is the second-youngest team in the nation behind the University of Kentucky. The Bison are led by Kevin Nickelberry, who is 8-5 against A&T in his career. Nickelberry was the Howard coach in the last MEAC tournament meeting, 51-50 Howard win on March 6, 2012.
Potential Star: The Aggies are without their top rebounder in Bruce Beckford, which means a lot of the rebounding may fall oddly enough to 6-foot-3 guard Richaud Pack. Pack is an excellent rebounder for a guard. If he can also score, the Aggies may be able to advance.
News & Notes:
• The Aggies and the Bison are meeting for the 21st time in the MEAC tournament. A&T has won 14 of the previous meetings.
• A&T senior guard Lamont Middleton needs just 3 points to become the 28th Aggie to score 1,000 points in a career.
• A&T is entering its 44th MEAC tournament. They have won the tournament more than a third of the time with 16 championships.