Wilson scores a career-high 26
GREENSBOROâ€“ Even though you really canâ€™t blame the prognosticators for where they picked the North Carolina A&T menâ€™s basketball team to finish in the MEAC, considering the Aggies lost three outstanding seniors, who also happened to be their top three scorers from a year ago.
But forgive the Aggies if they donâ€™t seem at all interested in making the predictors look good. The Aggies got a career-high 26 points from Nic Wilson, and made a strong statement Saturday afternoon with a convincing 93-66 win over Norfolk State at Corbett Sports Center. It was the Aggies third straight win.
Greensboro natives Robert Johnson(Dudley HS) and Tavarus Alston(Smith HS) chipped in with 16 and 14 points respectively with Johnson adding six rebounds and Alston dishing out six assists. Michael Deloach led the Spartans, who were picked to finish fourth in the conference, with 26 points.
â€œPeople should understand that we beat a very good team tonight,â€™â€™ said Eaves, whose team came into this season picked to finish eighth in the MEAC. â€œSo this may be surprising to some, but not to me. Iâ€™ve felt good about our team from day one, and I really felt good about this game. One of the reasons I like our chances is that people donâ€™t know who is going to beat them from night to night.â€
The Aggies (5-3, 1-0) have played eight games this season and have had five different leading scorers in those games. There are six players who average 6.0 points per game or more. Thomas Coleman, the man Eaves believes is his best player because of his ability to rebound and block shots, hasnâ€™t led the Aggies in scoring once.
â€œI think we can throw a lot at people,â€™â€™ said Eaves. â€œWe can play halfcourt because of our size or we can play uptempo with our athleticism. As long as we keep adhering to the Aggie principles, making sure we donâ€™t allow dribble drives, attacking the basket, pressuring the basketball, we have an opportunity this year.â€
The Aggies scored 36 points in the paint, shot 57.6 percent from the floor in the second half and they shot 36 free throws for the game.
Corey Lyons and Deloach kept things close in the first half. Lyonsâ€™ 3-pointer cut the Aggies lead to 28-22 with 6:35 remaining. Johnson answered with a mid-range jumper before Tim Zypher hit a jump shot to cut the lead back to six. The Aggies took over from there. Alston capped off a 9-0 Aggies run with a steal and layup to give N.C. A&T a 39-24 lead with less than a minute remaining in the first half.
After taking a 42-27 lead into the locker room, the Aggies defense stepped to the forefront. The Spartans scored just two field goals and committed six turnovers over the first eight minutes of the second half. In that same span, the Aggies blocked three shots as they cruised out to a 57-32 lead.
â€œWe stayed with our game plan,â€ said Eaves. â€œWe kept Deloach off the free throw line and thatâ€™s a hard thing to do because his mentality is to take it to the basket. We wanted to keep him on the perimeter shooting jump shots.â€
*****from Brian Holloway N.C. A&T SID*****