EAST GREENSBORO (December 1, 2018) –The North Carolina A&T men’s basketball team left Corbett Sports Center Saturday evening saying “ouch.” The Aggies really wanted to maximize their three-game homestand from Nov. 29-Dec. 8 by winning all three games before having to go back on the road for five straight games.
They had a major setback in meeting that goal as the Presbyterian Blue Hose defeated the Aggies 75-70 at Corbett Sports Center. “This one stings,” said N.C. A&T coach Jay Joyner. “I’m just being brutally honest. There is no way we should have lost this game, but we did.”
The Aggies (2-6) lost despite getting a season-high 27 points from graduate forward Terry Harris who hit his first seven 3-pointers on Saturday. Harris finished 9-for-12 from the floor, 8-for-11 from 3-point range and added six rebounds to his totals. Sophomore Kameron Langley recorded his second career double-double with 10 points and 10 assists. His 10 assists tie a career high he has reached four times in his less than two-year career.
Joyner, who saw his team total 14 assists, would like to see more than one player share the basketball. The Aggies, who were outrebounded by double-digits in their first three games, seemed to have solved those issues by outrebounding their next three opponents. But in their last two games, both at home, the Aggies have been outrebounded by 10 and five respectively.
“Our guard play wasn’t very good today outside of Kam,” said Joyner. “It just wasn’t. You’ve got guards leaking out instead of rebounding. The guard that leaks out, it is his man who hits the three. We are going to continue to work at it and get it fixed. We have to.”
Despite some of the hiccups, the Aggies still had a chance to take care of their home court, a place they had won 14 of their last 15. Langley’s 3-point play gave the Aggies a 57-53 with 7:49 to play. The Aggies were poised to increase that lead as senior Aaren Edmead was headed to the basket for a layup. He lost the ball along the way, which turned into a Romeo Crouch 3-pointer to cut the Aggies lead to one.
After a missed three from Langley, Presbyterian forward Adam Flagler hit a jump shot from the free throw line to give the Blue Hose a 58-57 advantage. Edmead drove baseline to put the Aggies back in front before two free throws from Davon Bell gave the Blue Hose the lead good. In fact, Bell’s two free throws were the start of an 8-0 run that gave the Blue Hose a 66-59 lead with 4:09 to play.
“I thought we had momentum in our favor before the turnover,” said Joyner referring to the Aggies four-point lead with a little more than seven minutes to play. “Everything just seemed to snowball on us from there. For us to still be fighting inconsistency and for us to be outrebounded by an opponent that wasn’t very big is frustrating. I thought we were the better team tonight, but we didn’t play with a sense of urgency from start to finish.”
Junior Qua Copeland ended the Blue Hose’s 8-0 run with a short jumper and Edmead cut the lead to 67-64 on a 3-pointer with 3:16 to play. Bell answered with a jumper of his own before Edmead netted another three to get the Aggies to within two at 69-67 with 2:34 remaining. But the Aggies could not seem to get the stop it needed.
Flagler whisked a pass over to Francois Lewis for another Blue Hose successful jumper as Presbyterian (4-4) went ahead by four with 2:20 to play. Plus, the Aggies rebounding issues surfaced again in the clutch. After Harris missed the front end of a one-and-one, the Blue Hose were able to run some clock because they grabbed two crucial offensive rebounds on their next possession. N.C. A&T did eventually cut the lead to one, 71-70, on a 3-pointer from graduate guard Amari Hamilton with 32 seconds remaining. But Presbyterian sealed the win by going 4-for-4 from the line over the last half minute of the game.
“This is the most frustrating game of the season thus far,” said Joyner. “There is no question about it. You’re talking about the difference between being 2-6 and 3-5. It was right there in front us and we didn’t capitalize. We didn’t approach the opportunity the way we should have.”
The game wasn’t quite that frustrating early on. Harris played a big part in that. Harris scored the Aggies first 12 points all on 3-pointers. In fact, the Aggies first 18 points came via 3-pointer. It was actually Harris who ended the streak by hitting a free throw to give the Aggies a 19-18 lead. Harris’ final three of the half was actually a heat check fadeaway with the shot clock running down that he swished to finish the half 7-for-7 from beyond the arc. The Aggies eventually took a 39-36 lead into the locker room.
“When you’re that hot teams make adjustments. We wanted to get other people involved so they couldn’t key on him. I thought he played his best game thus far, offensively and defensively. Now if we can get Terry Harris, (Ibrahim) Sylla and Kam playing well on the same night, we’re going to be a very good team.”
The Aggies will complete their three-game homestand against Greensboro College 4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 8 at Corbett Sports Center.