Holding on to an 11-point halftime advantage, North Carolina Central University turned the defensive intensity up a notch in the second half, holding the visiting Rattlers of Florida A&M University to 13 points, 5-for-30 shooting (16.7 percent), in the second half en route to a 92-49 blowout victory on Monday night in front of 2,397 fans inside McDougald-McLendon Gymnasium.
The 43-point victory was the largest margin for an Eagle win since re-joining the MEAC (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) surpassing the previous mark of 40, which happened on Jan. 22 against the arch-rival Aggies of North Carolina A&T 84-44 in Durham, N.C.
NCCU’s stellar defense shut down FAMU to 0-for-13 from beyond-the-arc in the second half as the Eagles mirrored their second half performance against Campbell on Nov. 18 where the Camels managed just nine points in the frame.
The Eagles jumped out to the early lead as both teams were going back-and-forth offensively, but the maroon and gray hit back-to-back three-pointers by Karamo Jawara (Bergen, Norway) and Juwan Moody (Pontiac, Mich.) along with Jeremy Ingram’s (Charlotte, N.C.) three-point play which put NCCU up 19-12 with 13:37 left in the first frame.
Ingram’s layup with 7:06 in the first half gave the Eagles their first double-digit lead of the night at 33-23 and junior Jordan Parks (Queens, N.Y.) drilled his fifth three-pointer of the year to make it 36-23 with 6:16 left. The maroon and gray took a 47-36 lead into the locker room.
With 16:57 left in the game, FAMU’s Trey Kellum hit a layup to put the score at 53-40. The Rattlers would not connect on another field goal for another 11 minutes as the Eagles went on a 24-1 to stretch the lead out to 77-41, and the maroon and gray cruised from there to the 92-49 win over Florida A&M.
In the win, NCCU held FAMU to 37.3 percent from-the-field, forced 20 turnovers that the Eagles converted into 33 points, outrebounded the Rattlers 38-28, and outscored Florida A&M 13-2 in second chance points.
Ingram led all scorers with 17 points on 8-for-17 shooting, while the maroon and gray shot a stellar 53.3 percent (32-for-60), 9-for-18 (50.0 percent) from three-point range. Jawara tied a career-high with 14 points and recorded a career-best five steals, while redshirt junior Jay Copeland ended the night with 11 points and six boards.
All told, the maroon and gray had 11 different student-athletes score, while Florida A&M’s dynamic duo of Jamie Adams (5-for-14) and Reggie Lewis (3-for-14) struggled offensively in the second combining to go 2-for-19 (10.5 percent) in the final 20 minutes. Adams led Florida A&M (8-16, 4-7 MEAC) with 12 points, while Lewis and Kellum both finished with 10 points in the loss.
The victory sends the Eagles to No. 10 in-a-row and extends the longest home winning streak in school history to 21 games.
NCCU (18-5, 9-1 MEAC) turns its focus to the upcoming MEAC weekend road trip of the regular season as the maroon and gray travel down to Orangeburg, S.C. to battle the Bulldogs of South Carolina State University at 6:00 p.m. from historic Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center.
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