North Carolina A&T (3-8) at St. Louis (10-2)
Date: December 21, 2013
Time: 3 p.m.
Facility: Chaifetz Arena
Series: St. Louis leads, 3-1
PROBABLE STARTERS: G Jeremy Underwood (6-0, 185, Sr., 6.1 ppg, 3.0 apg, 3.3 rpg); G Lamont Middleton (6-3, 205, Sr., 17.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.5 apg); G Richaud Pack (6-3, 183, Sr., 17.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg, .386 3pt.) F Bruce Beckford (6-7, 215, 13.0 ppg, 6.8 rpg); C Bryan Akinkugbe (6-9, 225, Jr., 4.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg).
Aggies Overview: The Aggies are looking to snap a three-game losing streak as they face the St. Louis Billikens. The Aggies are looking to get stronger defensively as the conference season approaches. The Aggies’ last two opponents have shot better than 50 percent from the floor in double-digit losses. The Aggies are also looking to get off the road. The Aggies have played nine of their first 11 games away from Corbett Sports Center. A&T’s first lengthy home stand doesn’t come until mid-to-late January when it gets to play four out of five in Corbett. As the conference season nears, the Aggies look to be shifting toward playing their more experienced players as the numerous freshmen on the roster continue to grow. A&T’s starters have played 72 percent of the minutes over the past four games.
St. Louis Overview: The Billikens are members of the Atlantic 10 conference. They will be the second A-10 opponent the Aggies have faced this season after A&T lost to Rhode Island 72-59 in November. The Billikens are led by head coach Jim Crews who holds a 392-357 career record, but is an impressive 38-9 in his second season at St. Louis. The Billikens come into today’s game on a four-game winning streak. They have led wire-to-wire in three of the games and trailed only a few minutes in the other. Dwayne Evans leads the way for Crews’ club (15.4 ppg), while Jordair Jett is also averaging in double-figures (11.1 ppg).
Potential Star: Bruce Beckford missed two games after sustaining a concussion on Nov. 29 versus Longwood. He returned on Dec. 7 at Radford. In the three games since, the sophomore forward is averaging 16.3 points and 5.0 rebounds, including a career-high 21 at Eastern Kentucky.
News & Notes:
• The Aggies have never won at Chaifetz Arena in three tries. The first time the Aggies played St. Louis, the game was played at Kiel Auditorium.
• A&T guard Richaud Pack has scored in double figures in every game this season. He is fifth in the conference in scoring.
• A&T senior point guard Jeremy Underwood has dished out five or more assists this season. Going into the season, he had only accomplished the feat four times in his career.
From the coach:
“I like the fact that our young men keep playing. Hopefully we’re learning from these road losses. We have to take positives from these games so when conference starts we’ll be road tested and ready.” Men’s Basketball Coach Cy Alexander on the Aggies numerous road games