MEN'S BASKETBALL PREVIEW
The Game: North Carolina A&T (11-15, 6-5 MEAC) vs. Savannah State (15-10, 8-2)
When: Monday, February 13 at 8:15 p.m.
Where: Corbett Sports Center
Must See: The Aggies bench. North Carolina A&T is one of the few teams in the country that uses 12 players during the course of a game. Against S.C. State on Saturday, all 13 Aggies played and 12 of them scored in an 85-55 blowout. But the high volume of players who entered the game was not because of the blowout. The Aggies routinely play 11-12 players on a routine basis. Head coach Jerry Eaves even tinkered with his starting lineup on Saturday. Jeremy Underwood and Jean Louisme earned their first career starts, and R.J. Buck started for the first time this season. Eaves also started freshman Waylan Siverand and part-time starter DaMetrius Upchurch. The results were outstanding. Louisme scored in double figures. Upchurch continued his hot streak from the floor, and Underwood dished out seven assists. Even the normal starters, who became reserves, played well. Marc Hill and Adrian Powell ended consecutive start streaks of 57 and 53 respectively, but Hill still managed to score 13 points on 6-for-9 shooting, while Powell had 11 points, nine rebounds and four steals.
Savannah State: Savannah State and North Carolina A&T will do battle on the basketball court for the first time. The Tigers, one of the newest members in the MEAC along with N.C. Central, are having a great debut. They are a game behind Norfolk State in the MEAC standing and have won their last seven games. Savannah State is 6th in the league in field goal percentage and eight in field goal percentage defense. Savannah State's success, therefore, is predicated on its ability to rebound the basketball. The Tigers lead the MEAC in rebounding and rebounding margin. Arnold Louis leads the team with 8.3 per game. Four Tigers average 3.8 rebounds per game or higher. He earned MEAC Player of the Week honors for the week of Jan. 24-29. Offensively, the Tigers are led by Rashad Hassan who averages 13.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. The Tigers are coached former Georgetown Hoya Horace Broadnax. Broadnax took over a 0-28 Savannah State team in 2005 and has turned it into a contender for the MEAC regular-season.
He's Heating Up: As the MEAC season was getting started, junior DaMetrius Upchurch was trying to overcome a hip injury he sustained during the Aggies final tune-up for the conference, an overtime win over Carver College on Jan. 3. Upchurch would miss A&T's next three games, and when he returned on Jan. 21, he had to work himself back into playing shape. He has done so in a major way. In his first three games back after the injury, Upchurch averaged 8.7 minutes and 1.7 points. In his last three games, however, 13.3 points per game, while shooting 16-for-20 from the floor.