JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (November 18, 2017) – The North Carolina A&T men’s basketball team won their third game in March last season. Before Thanksgiving, the Aggies already have win No. 3. Redshirt junior Femi Olujobi had another fabulous night, notching his second double-double of the season with a season-best 37 points and 18 rebounds to lead the Aggies to a 90-82 overtime win over Jacksonville at Swisher Gym Saturday.
“Today we grew up as a program,” said N.C. A&T coach Jay Joyner. “To win this type of game you have to have grit and cannot fold under pressure. We definitely responded in overtime and hit some tough shots and came up with key stops on defense down the stretch. In the timeout between regulation and overtime, I explained to the guys that we have a second chance of life tonight on the road, so this next five minutes we have to remove doubt and show how bad you want this win.”
The Aggies (3-1) battled back after a sluggish second-half start. After trailing by seven their defense picked up in the final six minutes of regulation and forced overtime where they outscored Jacksonville 12-4. Olujobi went 13-for-22 from the field and converted 9 of 14 free throws to exceed 30 points for the second time this season. He also made a pair of 3-pointers in 43 minutes.
“Femi was phenomenal tonight. I knew he had a chance to be good, but he has been playing out of his mind thus far. We are 3-1 and he has played well in every game. If he can continue to play his game and others can step up we will be successful,” said Joyner.
In overtime, the Aggies defense held the Dolphins to 2-for-6 shooting from the field while their offense made 4 of 6 from the floor. Langley scored the first points of the session, followed by a Boykins 3-pointer. Olujobi threw down his third dunk of the game to give the Aggies an 85-80 lead. After an Olujobi free throw, a Devonte Boykins steal and assist to Kwei Lartey gave the Aggies a commanding 88-80 lead with 43 seconds remaining in OT.
“Today’s game was tough for obvious reasons, being on the road,” said Joyner. “But several guys stepped up even though I did not go to the bench this game. I was happy to see the entire team supporting and clapping for each other. We came out the gate and led in the first half, and went into the locker room with the lead on the road which is huge. But until you experience a game like this on the road it is always going to be tough to keep a lead.”
A much-needed boost from the Aggie bench came from Amari Hamilton. Hamilton came in and scored six straight points as the Aggies tried to battle back by the midpoint of the second half. Japhet Kadji hit a 3-pointer and Kameron Langley knocked down a pair of free throws to bring the Aggies within two, 63-61 with seven minutes to go. The Aggies played well defensively in the final nine minutes and Olujobi tied the game for the fourth time at 63 with 6:16 remaining.
Back-to-back Aggie 3-pointers by Langley and Boykins tied the score at 70 with a little more than three minutes to play. With the momentum shifting in the final moments of regulation, Lartey stole the ball and slammed it down with one hand to tie game at 76. The Dolphins (0-3) went to the free throw line and missed which allowed Boykins to rush down the court and put the Aggies ahead by two with 36 seconds left. JU responded and tied the game on a Jace Hogan layup with 19 seconds remaining.
The Aggies drew up a final play for Olujobi but his shot attempt missed sending the game into overtime tied at 78-78.
Langley scored 17 points on 6-for-6 shooting from the free throw line. Langley played 40 minutes and dished out five assists and grabbed five rebounds. Lartey had 14 points and five assists while Boykins recorded a game-high six assists and scored eight points.
“We are still trying to figure things out. We have a lot of new faces and everyone is still trying to get comfortable and know how each and everyone plays,” said Joyner. “Kameron stepped up as a true freshman and made the right plays. He is definitely a winner.”
The Aggies host Mid-Atlantic Christian in the Corbett Sports Center on Tuesday, Nov. 21 at 7p.m.