NORFOLK, Va. (February 18, 2018) –North Carolina A&T did not take over first place in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) on Monday as Norfolk State used strong defense and dribble penetration to defeat the Aggies 76-58 at Echols Hall.
The Spartans (16-11, 11-1 MEAC) remain in first place in the MEAC after shooting 47.7 percent from the field. They shot 51.6 percent from the floor in the second half. Meanwhile, the Aggies got off to a rough start shooting just 21.9 percent in the first half.
Sophomore Kam Langley and fifth-year senior Amari Hamilton led the Aggies with 14 points apiece. Langley also had five assists and six rebounds, while junior Ronald Jackson finished with 10 points and six rebounds.
Monday’s game got away from the Aggies early. N.C. A&T was able to get out into transition early. Four of their first six points came on the break as senior Milik Gantz raced down the floor to score the Aggies first bucket. The Aggies then turned a block into a
N.C. A&T struggled from the floor from there. The Spartans went on a 13-0 run highlighted by a dunk from NSU’s Steven Whitley. The run culminated with a 3-pointer from Derrick Jamerson to give the Spartans a 15-6 lead eight minutes into the game. Junior guard Qua Copeland ended the run with a 3-pointer, but the Aggies went ice cold from there offensively.
After Copeland’s jump shot, the Aggies went 2-for-11 from the floor over the next eight minutes of the contest. With 4:08 remaining in the first half, Whitley dribbled into the lane and scored again to give the Spartans a 31-16 lead. NSU was able to take a 38-21 lead into halftime.
There were a couple of threats the Aggies made to get back into the game in the second half. A 13-6 run that ended with Langley stealing the ball from Whitley and sprinting down the floor to deliver a pass to Jackson for a dunk to bring the Aggies to within 46-34 with 14:25 remaining in the game.
NSU built the lead to 16 before a tip-in and a jump shot from freshman Tyrone Lyons cut the Spartans lead to 12 at 54-42 with nine minutes to play. But back-to-back dunks from NSU’s Alex Long and a 3-pointer from Armani Branch pushed the lead to 19 with 6:50 to play. The Aggies never recovered.
All is not lost for the Aggies in the race for a MEAC regular-season title, however. N.C. A&T (14-12, 9-3 MEAC) has their final four regular-season games at home in Corbett Sports Center starting with S.C. State, 4 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 23.
Long led the Spartans with 17 points and seven rebounds.