Aggie Men Begin MEAC Basketball Tournament Play
#5 Maryland Eastern Shore (12-19) vs. # 12 N.C. A&T (3-28)
Date: March 6, 2017
Time: 5 p.m.
Facility: Norfolk Scope Arena
Series: A&T leads, 58-27
Radio: ESPN Triad Radio, 1320AM/93.7 FM WCOG.
PROBABLE STARTERS: G Eliel Gonzalez (6-2, 170, Jr., 10.0, 3.5 rpg, 2.8 apg); G Sam Hunt (6-2, 175, R-Jr., 13.0 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 1.8 apg); G Austin Williams (6-1, 175, Sr., 2.6 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 1.4 apg); F Davaris McGowens (6-7, 230, Jr., 9.6 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.2 apg); C Aaron Scales (6-9, 233, Gr., 6.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 0.5 apg).
Aggies Overview: North Carolina A&T enters the 2017 MEAC Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament on a high note after upsetting the top team in the conference, their arch-rival North Carolina Central, 68-63 Thursday at Corbett Sports Center. The Aggies victory was based on defense as they held the Eagles to 30 percent shooting in the second half. The Aggies have also gotten a boost lately from their two junior college transfers. In the last two games, McGowens has scored 24 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, while Gonzalez has scored 71 points in his last four games including two 20-point games. In the last meeting with MDES, Gonzalez came away with a career-high 23 points in the triple overtime loss. Guard Sam Hunt had 19 points in that game and he is coming off a 20-point night against NCCU on Thursday where he was 7-for-7 from the line.
MDES Overview: Maryland Eastern Shore comes into the tournament as the No. 5 seed. They will be after their third win over the Aggies this season after defeating N.C. A&T 99-88 in Greensboro on Jan. 9 and 106-95 in triple overtime in Princess Anne, Md., on Feb. 20. Bakari Copeland has been a big problem for the Aggies in those two games. He scored 26 points on 10-for-14 shooting at Corbett, while posting 29 points and 10 rebounds on 17-for-21 shooting from the free throw line. Ryan Andino had a big night in Greensboro, where he scored 31 points on 9-for-13 shooting from 3-point range. The X factor has been point guard Logan McIntosh who is averaging 12.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.5 assists in the two games the teams have played this season.
Stepping Up: Eliel Gonzalez is having his best stretch of the season at the right time. The junior college transfer is 25-for-51 from the floor in his last four games. Inside the 3-point arc, Gonzalez is 18-for-30 from the floor in his last four games.
News & Notes:
- Guard Sam Hunt has hit 59 out of his last 60 free throws and at one time this season he hit 51 straight free throws. This season he is shooting 94.8 percent from the line and as an Aggie he is a 92.1 percent free throw shooter.
- If the Aggies beat the Hawks, they will improve to 6-0 against the Hawks in MEAC tournament play. If the Aggies win, they will also avoid being defeated by the Hawks three times in one season for the first time in program history.
- N.C. A&T is looking to advance in the MEAC tournament for the first time since winning the tournament in 2013. The Aggies are 6-9 in the MEAC tournament over the past 10 seasons.
- The latest the Aggies have gone without a conference win in a season is March 3. That is when the Aggies got conference win No. 1 in 2003. They got their first conference win on March 2 this season.