North Carolina A&T (6-12, 2-1 MEAC) at N.C. Central (11-5, 2-1 MEAC)
Date: January 22, 2014
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Facility: McDougald-McLendon Gymnasium
Series: A&T leads 75-67
Radio: ESPN Radio (1200, 1230, 1320 AM); Play-by-Play: Spencer Turkin
Listen online: triadsports.com
PROBABLE STARTERS: G Jeremy Underwood (6-0, 185, Sr., 8.1 ppg, 3.1 apg, 3.1 rpg); G Lamont Middleton (6-3, 205, Sr., 17.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.6 apg); G Richaud Pack (6-3, 183, Sr., 17.7 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 1.4 apg) F Bruce Beckford (6-7, 215, 12.2 ppg, 7.6 rpg); C Bryan Akinkugbe (6-9, 225, Jr., 5.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg).
Aggies Overview: A&T heads into a hostile environment on its first two-game winning streak of the season. In recent home wins over NJIT and Delaware State, the Aggies received outstanding performances from senior guards Richaud Pack and Jeremy Underwood. Pack scored 52 points on 59.1 percent shooting (13-for-22) from the field and 7-for-13 shooting from 3-point range. The 6-3 guard also grabbed 10 rebounds. Underwood scored 32 points on 9-for-14 shooting from beyond the 3-point arc. He also had eight rebounds and eight assists up against just four turnovers. The Aggies will need a strong performance from both men over the next three games as the Aggies face N.C. Central, Morgan State and Coppin State. Those three teams have a combined MEAC record of 10-3. The good news for the Aggies is that two of those games are at home and the other is 50 miles away in Durham.
NCCU Overview: The Eagles come into conference play as one of the favorites in the MEAC. They were 15-1 in the league last season and own the conference’s best RPI rating this season. The Eagles had an impressive non-conference season with wins over N.C. State and Winthrop and overtime wins over Old Dominion and Appalachian State. The Eagles are under the leadership of fifth-year coach LeVelle Moton who is 5-2 against the Aggies in his career. He also played in the rivalry where he led the Eagles to a 3-1 record over A&T during his playing career. The Eagles have one of the best backcourts in the conference with Jeremy Ingram leading the league in scoring (19.3 ppg) and Chapman leading the MEAC in assists (7.0 apg).
Potential Star: Tonight’s matchup includes two of the best scorers in the MEAC in N.C. Central’s Jeremy Ingram and A&T’s Richaud Pack. If Pack can continue to get to the free throw line and put up big points, he could outscore Ingram and lead A&T to victory.
News & Notes:
• Jeremy Underwood has found his rhythm from 3-point range. The Washington, D.C., senior is 16-for-24 from 3-point range in his last five games and ranks second in the conference in 3-point percentage (.406).
• The Aggies are just 1-5 against the Eagles in MEAC play since the Eagles rejoined the conference in 2010.
• The Aggies defeated the Eagles in the MEAC tournament quarterfinals last season. It was the first time the two rivals faced each other in the MEAC tournament. NCCU’s 42 points was also its lowest point total in the 142-game series.
From the coach:
“This particular period is very important for us. We’re playing three upper echelon teams in the MEAC in Morgan State, Coppin State and (North Carolina) Central. By the end of this month, we’ll have a good feel for what type of team we have.” Men’s Basketball Coach Cy Alexander on the Aggies’ next three games