NORFOLK, Va. – Call what happened in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) tournament men’s basketball quarterfinal matchup between No. 2 seed North Carolina A&T and No. 7 seed Coppin State March Madness or just call it maddening,
“Coppin State fought us to the end, but our young men are very tough mentally,” said N.C. A&T coach Jay Joyner. “They believe no matter what they’re going to win. We didn’t play our best basketball, but we got the job done tonight.”
N.C. A&T (19-12) flirted with putting away the Eagles throughout the game, but CSU (8-25) was not in a conciliatory mood. The decisive blow came on a drive to the basket by sophomore Kameron Langley. He dished the ball off to junior Ronald Jackson was diving down the lane. Jackson scored on the layup and was fouled. He completed the 3-point play to give the Aggies an 81-78 lead with 17 seconds remaining in the game.
Jackson finished with 21 points and 14 rebounds for his first double-double as an Aggie. His 14 rebounds are the most by an Aggie this season. Ten of his rebounds came on the offensive end. Langley also had a double-double with 10 points and 12 assists to just one turnover. It is the first time since Jan. 27, 2018 (Femi Olujobi and Davaris McGowens) that two different Aggies had a double-double in the same.
Langley is now just four assists shy of breaking the school’s single-season assists record held by Glenn Taggert who compiled 201 during the 1989-90 season. He will have a chance to break the record on Friday when the Aggies play in the 8 p.m., semifinal at the Scope against either third seed N.C. Central or 11thseed Delaware State.
It appeared the Aggies were well on their way to playing Friday night with seven minutes gone in the second half. A Jackson 3-pointer gave the Aggies a 52-41 lead. But over the next three minutes, the Eagles worked the lead down as Lamar Morgan’s 3-pointer made it a 56-52 game with nine minutes to play. When Dejuan Clayton hit two free throws with 6:46 remaining, it was a 61-58 ballgame.
But once again, the Aggies extended the lead with a 7-2 run that was capped off when Langley tossed a pass to graduate forward Terry Harris for a 3-pointer that put the Aggies ahead 68-60. The Eagles scored the next seven points which culminated with Clayton going the distance of the floor to score on a layup to make it a 68-67 game with 2:41 to play.
Langley responded by scoring in the lane and Jackson made one of two free throws to extend N.C. A&T’s lead to four with 97 seconds remaining. A Justin Steers tip-in got the Eagles within two before a costly Aggies turnover and a Justin Steers steal and layup tied the game at 71.
The Aggies had an excellent chance to win the game in regulations as a perfect inbound pass was lobbed over the top of the CSU defense into the hands of Jackson underneath the basket, but Jackson missed two layups and fifth-year guard Amari Hamilton would also miss a follow-up sending the game into overtime where Jackson would hit his game-winner.
“I felt like I owed my team something after missing that layup before overtime, so I just put my heart out on the floor,” said Jackson. “When Kam found me, I just tried to go up and as strong as I could and take care of business.”
Clayton led CSU with 16 points and nine assists. The Aggies defeated both Delaware State and N.C. Central twice during the regular season.