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Aggies Lose to Fastbreaking Tigers

Courtesy: NC A&T Sports Information
          Release: 02/25/2017
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Junior Donte Watson came off the bench to score 16 points on Saturday. Photo by Kevin L. Dorsey
Courtesy: NC A&T Sports Information

GREENSBORO (February 25, 2017) – The North Carolina A&T men’s basketball team ran into a team determined on scoring in transition Saturday evening at Corbett Sports Center and it proved too difficult for the Aggies to bend their will.

For just the fourth time since N.C. A&T started playing in Corbett Sports Center in 1978, an Aggies opponent scored 100 points as Savannah State defeated the Aggies 110-91. In fact, the Tigers 110 points are the most points ever scored by an Aggies opponent at Corbett, breaking the previous mark of 108 points scored by Alcorn State in 1979. The other two teams to score 100 or more in Corbett were Charlotte (100) in 1990 and Howard (105) on Feb. 24, 2003.

The Tigers (11-16, 8-6 MEAC) outscored the Aggies 32-15 in fastbreak points as they hit eight 3-pointers in transition. SSU finished the night with 20 3-pointers on 53 attempts. Both the 3-point makes and attempts are the most by an Aggies opponent in school history.

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It was a night that started with a much better upside. The Aggies (2-27, 0-14 MEAC) honored five players before the game on Senior Night in Sam Hunt, Mike Owona, Nick Reese, Aaron Scales and James Whitaker. Hunt finished the night with 18 points as N.C. A&T reached the 90-point mark for the second straight game. The Aggies shot 59 percent in the second half and 44.9 percent for the game.

But the Tigers hit 3-pointers early and often. After a Hunt 3-pointer gave the Aggies a 5-2 lead two minutes into the game, Zach Sellers rebounded a Whitaker missed and raced down the floor and found Dexter McClanahan open in transition for a three. It was a prelude for the night. Whitaker responded to McClanahan’s three with two free throws before Isaiah Felder knocked down another to put the Tigers ahead 8-7 at the 15-minute mark of the first half.

The Aggies never led again. Three-pointers by Zellers, Austin Dasent and Casey Wells over the next 2 ½ minutes built the Tigers lead to 18-9. SSU’s lead grew to 20, 54-34, on a 3-pointer from Troyce Manassa in transition with 2 ½ minutes remaining in the first half. SSU led 58-36 at the half. N.C. A&T did get the lead down to 71-57 on a Nick Reese layup with 13:07 remaining, but back-to-back SSU 3-pointers by Wells ended any hopes of a rally.

Three more Aggies scored in double figures including junior Donte Watson (16), redshirt sophomore Amari Hamilton (13) and freshman Raymon Pratt (10). Wells led the Tigers with 32 points on 10-for-19 shooting from 3-point range.

N.C. A&T returns to action 7:30 p.m., Monday as they welcome Bethune-Cookman to Corbett followed by arch-rival North Carolina Central on Thursday night at 7:30.

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