EMMITSBURG, Md. (November 21, 2018) – November for the North Carolina A&T men’s basketball team has consisted of a crosstown rival who was a 2018 NCAA tournament participant returning eight players. The month also included an ACC team, a Big 10 team and five consecutive road games.
After a challenging month, however, November will also include at least one win for the Aggies. What might be even more encouraging is that the win occurred on the road.
N.C. A&T shot 58.3 percent in the second half to overcome a halftime deficit to defeat Mount St. Mary’s 74-60 Wednesday night at Knott Arena. Junior Qua Copeland led the Aggies with 19 points on 4-for-6 shooting from 3-point range. Graduate center Ibrahim Sylla added 14 points and nine rebounds on 6-for-10 shooting. Junior Ronald Jackson, Jr., came off the bench to score 10 points and to secure six rebounds. Sophomore Kameron Langley had another big assist night with eight and the Aggies bench outscored The Mount’s 21-4.
“I’m proud of the way the guys have continued to stay together,” said N.C. A&T coach Jay Joyner. “We came out of the gate playing a real tough schedule, but they still had a great spirit about showing up to work every day. We are not a finished product, but it sure is good to get a W on the road and to be able to enjoy Thanksgiving.”
The timing of the win was perfect for the Aggies (1-5). They will get eight days away from competition to enjoy their first win of the season before returning to Corbett Sports Center to play at home where they have won 13 out of their last 14.
“It will be great to be back home but it is also great to know we can win on the road,” said Joyner. “Just like winning is contagious, so is losing. The next time we have to come back on the road these guys will have a lot more confidence.”
Joyner’s Aggies trailed 31-28 at the half after trailing by as many as six over the first 20 minutes of the game. Graduate forward Terry Harris opened the second half by netting a three. After two free throws gave The Mount the lead back, another Harris three gave the Aggies a 34-33 lead two minutes into the second half. The Mount never regained the lead the rest of the way.
N.C. A&T’s lead grew to eight on a Copeland steal and layup with 13:33 to play in the game. After Sylla free throw, Copeland knocked down a 3-pointer to give the Aggies their first double-figure lead of the game at 50-38. A 6-0 Mount run capped by a Vado Morse 3-pointer got The Mount back into the game.
But Jackson, Jr., took a pass from Langley and scored on a short jump shot to put the Aggies ahead by double-figures again, 58-48, with 7:14 remaining in the game. The Aggies maintained control from there. A Sylla dunk kept the lead at 10, 64-54, with 3:18 to play. Four straight Jackson, Jr. free throws boosted the Aggies lead to 14 with 1:49 remaining.
“It was up to them how bad they wanted to win a ballgame over the last 20 minutes of the game tonight,” said Joyner who saw N.C. A&T outscore The Mount 46-29 in the second half. “I thought they brought a lot of intensity in the second half, so I appreciate how hard the guys worked tonight and how well they shared the basketball.”
N.C. A&T will return home 7:30 p.m., Thursday, November 29 to face Central Connecticut State at Corbett. Two days later they will face Presbyterian (4 p.m.) before closing the homestand against Greensboro College on Dec. 8 (4 p.m.)