North Carolina Central University’s stingy second-half defense along with clutch free-throw shooting was just enough for the maroon and gray to earn the 51-47 victory over the Aggies of North Carolina A&T inside a sold out McDougald-McLendon Gym on Saturday afternoon.
The Eagle defense held the Aggies to 5-for-24 (20.8 percent) shooting from the field in the second half as the Aggies were also 1-for-8 (12.5 percent) from the outside in the final stanza. Not to mention, A&T also finished the ballgame 6-for-19 (31.6 percent) from the foul line.
NCCU on the other hand ended the night an astonishing 19-for-21 (90.5 percent) from the foul line en route to earning the second consecutive season sweep over the A&T.
The Aggies came out fired up in the first half, storming out to an 11-3 lead after Jeremy Underwood’s layup. A&T started the game 5-for-6 from the field.
NC A&T’s led 18-9 following another Underwood basket, and junior Stanton Kidd (Baltimore, Md.) responded with a put-back dunk that got the Eagle momentum rolling.
NCCU cut the deficit to five following two made free-throws by junior Drimir Ferguson (Bronx, N.Y.) at 18-13, but the Aggies’ Adrian Powell drilled a three to stretch the lead back to eight at 21-13.
A&T pushed the lead to its largest of the day at 25-13, and that’s when the maroon and gray responded with a 9-2 run to cut the margin back to five at 27-22 after junior Jeremy Ingram’s (Charlotte, N.C.) three-pointer with 4:55 to go.
The Aggies countered back with a Jean Louisme shot from the outside to spread the lead back to eight, but Antonin Galaya (St. Martin, French West Indies) scored the last five points for the Eagles as they cut the deficit to three heading into the locker room at 30-27.