EAST GREENSBORO (January 19, 2019) –North Carolina A&T men’s basketball is constantly hammering in a few points they’re trying to make this season, and they’re doing it with a mallet.
The points are, the Aggies have depth and they can beat you in many different ways with many different players. On Saturday, it was reserve junior forward Ronald Jackson’s turn to prove the point. Jackson came off the bench to post season highs in points (21) and rebounds (8) to lead the Aggies to a 57-53 win over Morgan State at Corbett Sports Center. Jackson was 7-for-13 from the floor and 7-for-10 from the free throw line.
The Aggies have won five straight and are 9-9 overall after starting the season 0-5 with another three-game losing streak thrown in before the New Year. N.C. A&T is also 4-0 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and they have gotten there in different ways.
At S.C. State the Aggies used a big second half and overtime from junior Qua Copeland and senior Milik Gantz to beat the Bulldogs. At Delaware State, they used the 3-point shooting of graduate forward Terry Harris and Copeland to win. At Maryland Eastern Shore, graduate center Ibrahim Sylla led the Aggies with 25 points and 10 rebounds in the win.
“On any given night someone different can show up and play well,” said N.C. A&T coach Jay Joyner who is 15-5 in the last 20 MEAC games he’s coached. “We have the talent and the depth this year to be really good. We had one of our worst games offensively, but we still walked away with the win.”
It was not an easy win. The Bears (7-11, 2-3 MEAC) led by as many as six in the second half, 37-31, with 13:11 remaining in the game. A drive apiece to the basket by sophomore Kameron Langley and Harris followed by a dunk from Jackson off a spectacular pass from Copeland tied the game at 37 two minutes later. The Aggies eventually took the lead as Langley, who finished with 10 assists for the sixth time in his career, whipped a pass over to junior Andre Jackson for a three that put the Aggies ahead 49-47 with 5:52 remaining.
N.C. A&T never trailed again, but the Bears were able to tie the game twice over the final five minutes of the game. The final time came at the 2:11 mark when David Syfax hit two free throws to tie the game at 53. Morgan State tried to take the lead, but Martez Cameron was called for traveling, giving the Aggies the back with 1:16 to play. Langley then drove to the basket and helped the Aggies reclaim the lead at 55-53 with just under a minute remaining.
Sylla’s block on the Bears next possession gave the Aggies possession with 37 seconds to go. But when Langley missed a layup, it gave the Bears a chance at the win. But Kyson Rawls 3-point attempt came up short leading to two Ronald Jackson free throws to clinch the win. The Aggies have now won 10 straight at Corbett against MEAC opponents.
It was their fifth straight win over the Bears at Corbett. The last time the Bears beat the Aggies at Corbett came on Feb. 1, 2010. N.C. A&T, the conference leader in field goal percentage, shot just 39.7 percent on Saturday.
“I’m just really happy for these young men. We’re 4-0 in the conference. We’ve won some ugly games thus far and we’ve got to get back to playing together. Some nights the ball might not go in, but you still need to make the right plays. We have to be disciplined for 40 minutes, and I thought down the stretch we capitalized on playing the right way.”
Ronald Jackson entered the game 90 seconds into the game after Sylla committed an early foul. He played the next 5 ½ minutes and scored six points, grabbed three offensive rebounds and picked up a steal and a blocked shot.
Sylla returned to the game at the 12:54 mark of the first half but had to back to the bench a minute later after being called for another foul. Ronald Jackson went on to finish the first half with 11 points, five rebounds (four offensive), three steals and a block as the Aggies led 25-23 at the half. Ronald Jackson played so well, Joyner decided to play Sylla and Ronald Jackson together. It proved effective as Sylla finished with 10 points on 5-for-6 shooting as the Aggies outscored the Bears 40-24 in the paint.
The Aggies also benefited from the Bears 19 turnovers that turned into a 24-6 advantage in points off turnovers. Stanley Davis led Morgan State with 18 points. N.C. A&T returns to action 7:30 p.m., Monday, Jan. 21 on Martin Luther King Jr., Day at Corbett.