- There are two major things the North Carolina A&T men's basketball team
will try to correct over the next 12 days as it tries to recover from its 66-62
loss archrival N.C. Central at Corbett Sports Center on Saturday.
Aggies do not play again until Dec. 13 when they travel to Newark, N.J., to play
New Jersey Institute of Technology. In the meantime, head coach Cy Alexander and
his staff will try to address two major issues on his mind ,which are offensive
consistency and rebounding, more specially, rebounding in the clutch.
was an offensive rebound that led to the turning point in Saturday's game. With
the score tied at 62, N.C. Central guard Jeremy Ingram took a 3-point shot with
54.8 seconds remaining. The ball ricocheted off the back iron and bounced on
the court twice before Eagles center Ray Willis ran down the loose ball.
gave the Eagles a chance to call timeout and set up a play. Out of the timeout,
Eagles forward Stanton Kidd went backdoor, took a bounce pass from point guard
Emanuel Chapman and tried to score. A step behind, A&T forward Lawrence
Smith reached and grabbed Kidd from behind in an effort to prevent the score.
The officials determined that Smith was not making a play on the ball when he
Smith picked up the intentional foul and the Eagles received two free throws
and the ball out of bounds underneath their own basket. Kidd hit both free
throws to give the Eagles a 64-62 with 22.9 seconds remaining. After Aggies
guard Lamont Middleton was forced to foul Willis to stop the clock. Willis hit
two more Eagle free throws to clinch the win.
recalled a week ago when the Aggies had a chance to grab a loose ball in the clutch
against Jacksonville State. The result was the same, a close loss.
the little things," Alexander said "It's not a lack effort. It's a lack of
being mentally in tune and being mentally disciplined and understanding what it
takes in clutch situations to win close ballgames. Those are two ballgames (Jacksonville
State and N.C. Central) gone by the wayside that we didn't get. This one was
even more hurtful because it's a conference game, and it's against North
Eagles have now won three straight in the historic rivalry. They did it by
hitting 21 of 25 free throws, including going 7-for-7 in the final 3 ½ minutes of
the game. They also held A&T to 34.5 percent shooting, which added to the
offensive woes the Aggies have experienced this season. Alexander complimented
the Eagles staff for going to a zone against an Aggies team that is shooting
just 26.1 percent from 3-point range.
Aggies (3-6, 0-1) did get a career-high 29 points from senior forward Adrian
Powell. But it followed a game in which the Aggies got a career highs from
Lamont Middleton (24 pts) and Jeremy Underwood (22 pts). On Saturday, the two
guards had four points apiece.
big, big concern for our coaching staff is that we don't know from night to night
who we can count on," said Alexander. "We think we're going to play hard from
night to night, we think we're going to try to play defense from night to
night, but rebounding in the clutch and who's going to be consistent for us on
the offensive end has me having a lot of sleepless nights."
were 15 ties and 12 lead changes in the latest installment of Aggie/Eagle.
Neither team led by more than six points throughout the night. Powell gave the
Aggies a 58-54 lead with 3:44 remaining in the game on a 3-pointer. The Eagles
then went on an 8-0 run to take a four-point lead with 2:35 to play. Powell had
a chance to move the Aggies closer but missed three straight free throws before
hitting one to pull the Aggies to within three. He made up for the misses by
tying the game at 62 with his sixth 3-pointer of the night with 1:25 remaining.
Eagles (5-4, 1-0) were led by Kidd's 24 points and nine rebounds. Willis added
17 points and eight rebounds.