|Balanced offense keys N.C. Central to win||< All News|
|Friday, March 14, 2014|
NORFOLK, Va. — North Carolina Central parlayed a balanced attack and another display of great defense to defeat Norfolk State University, 68-45 in the semifinal round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament at the Norfolk Scope. The Eagles (27-5), the Number 1 seed, advance to the championship on Saturday where they will play Morgan State in the championship final. The game will be televised live on ESPNU at 6 pm.
North Carolina Central, which ranks among the nation’s best in scoring defense, again made believers. After going back and forth with the Spartans (19-14), the Number 3 seed, the Eagles began to flex and give a glimpse of what was to come. Not only did the defense force Norfolk State deep into the shot clock on several possessions, it picked up 12 points off Norfolk State turnovers.
“It was a hard game on us,” said Norfolk State first year head coach Robert Jones. “We actually shot over 40 percent from the field, but only 39 attempts. They did a good job of not letting us get good looks at the basket.”
Jeremy Ingram, the MEAC Player of the Year, led all scorers with 12 points while senior backcourt mate Emanuel Chapman added nine. Norfolk State’s Pendarvis Williams led his team with five, but missed four of six shots.
Any hopes of getting back in the game for the Spartans were quickly dashed when North Carolina Central reeled off an 11-0 run in the first four minutes to extend the halftime lead to 43-24. Karamo Jawara, reserves Jordan Parks and Reggie Groves helped lead the charge.
The Spartans were unable to get anything going and found out what Howard University did in the quarterfinal round when NC Central held them to 46 points in a 92-46 loss. The Eagles won the points in the paint battle (26-16), points off turnovers (21-2) and second chance points (14-2).
“I thought we locked down defensively and really defended,” said Moton. “Any time they made shots, they were really tough shots and we’ll take that. In the second half, we just kept our foot on the gas pedal.”
On the offensive end, North Carolina Central got balanced scoring from Ingram (14 points), Parks (14), Chapman (13) and Jawara (11).
Williams led Norfolk State with 12 and Marese Phelps contributed nine off the bench.
The Eagles have won 19 straight games. They met Morgan State on January 27 and edged the Bears 53-52 at home.
“We’ve been saying one game at a time the entire season,” said Chapman, the all-time leader in assists in school history. “But now, it’s a little easier to say ‘guys, there’s one game left.’ That just makes it easier to get across. It’s the championship and this is what we have worked hard for.”