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Aggies, Rattlers Go At It For A Third Time

Courtesy: NC A&T Sports Information
          Release: 03/12/2013
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A&T head coach Cy Alexander has 27 MEAC tournament wins, second to only Ron "Fang" Mitchell.
Courtesy: NC A&T Sports Information
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No. 7 North Carolina A&T (15-16) vs. No. 10 Florida A&M (8-22)
 March 12, 2013
Time:  6:30 p.m.
Facility: Norfolk Scope Arena     
Series: A&T leads, 44-26

PROBABLE STARTERS: G Lamont Middleton (6-3 Jr., 12.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 2.3 apg); G Jean Louisme (6-4 Sr., 9.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 1.6 apg); F Austin Witter (6-8 Sr., 6.2 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 3.0 bpg); F Adrian Powell (6-6 Sr, 12.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 1.8 spg); C Bruce Beckford (6-7 Fr., 7.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg).

CHIT CHAT:  North Carolina A&T's postseason begins with a third meeting against Florida A&M. A&T defeated the Rattlers 68-40 in Tallahassee, Fla., on January 14. The Aggies followed that victory nearly a month later with a 64-56 win over the Rattlers at Corbett Sports Center. The Aggies have won 7 of 10 from the Rattlers, but it has been a struggle for them in the MEAC tournament. The Aggies last win in the tournament came during the 2010 tournament in Winston-Salem, when they defeated Howard. This will be their sixth meeting against the Rattlers in the conference tournament. A&T holds a 3-2 edge, but the last time the two teams met in the postseason, the Rattlers defeated A&T 74-66 in a semifinal game in Raleigh. In two games versus the Rattlers this season, junior guard Lamont Middleton is a combined 10-for-18 from the floor and has scored 28 points. If the Aggies win, they will play N.C. Central Wednesday night at 8.

From the coach:  
"What I have seen throughout this season is that we can play with any team in this conference. We've played everyone tough and everyone has played us tough, so we have as good a chance as anyone else to win this tournament."  
North Carolina A&T head coach Cy Alexander on MEAC Basketball Tournament  

It's A "Lock": The Aggies have held the Rattlers' 3-point shooting in check in two previous meetings this season. The Rattlers are just 7-for-39 from beyond the arc against the Aggies this season. The Rattlers haven't been much better from the line, connecting on 21 of 39 attempts.

The Opponent:  Florida A&M enters the tournament on a three-game losing streak. The Rattlers lost at Morgan State 78-67 to close out the regular season on Thursday. FAMU's last three games were on the road. In the Rattlers two losses to A&T this season, their lead man was Muhammad Abdul-Aleem. Abdul-Aleem had nine points against the Aggies in Tallahassee, and he had 16 points in Greensboro. The Rattlers are led by Jamie Adams, who is averaging 14.0 points per game. Markee Teal is their top rebounder at 5.2 per game. The Rattlers last win was a double overtime home win over S.C. State on Feb. 25.

 Potential Gameday Star power: North Carolina A&T: The future of A&T basketball is the young hands of Bruce Beckford. Beckford recently earned MEAC All-Rookie honors and is coming off of a terrific game against Norfolk State in which he had 16 points and nine rebounds against the Spartans' talented frontline. Florida A&M: Rebounding will be key in the Rattlers 7/10 game against the Aggies. Markee Teal is the Rattlers best rebounder. He recently had 22 points and 11 rebounds in a loss at Hampton.

The Magic Number For A&T: .315: The Aggies have held the Rattlers to just 31.5 percent shooting in two games this season.   

Austin Witter broke the Aggies single-season blocked shots record on March 2. Ten days later, he was named MEAC Defensive Player of the Year. Witter leads the conference in blocked shots and defensive rebounds.

Witter and Adrian Powell were named third-team All-MEAC. Powell is tied for the team lead in scoring and had a career-high 29 points against N.C. Central on Dec. 1.   

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