Norfolk, Va. – North Carolina Central University (NCCU) had to weather a second-half storm from Morgan State (MSU) as the Bears made a late run, but the Eagles held on for a 79-70 win on Friday, March 9 at Scope Arena to advance to a second-consecutive MEAC Championship appearance.
NCCU (18-15) made it a point to work the ball inside to Raasean Davis (Chicago, Ill.) early and often, and he collected 15 points in the first half. MSU (13-19) scored first in the contest and tied the game a few times, but the Eagles grabbed a lead with 7:19 to go in the first half, and eventually held it for the rest of the game.
The first 20 minutes set the stage for a duel between Davis and Tiwian Kendley (Harlem, N.Y.) as Kendley matched Davis’s 15 points with 13 of his own, but the Eagles as a team had a 35-29 lead after 20 minutes.
NCCU started the second half on an 8-2 run, and eventually led MSU by as many as 16, which set up a necessary cushion for the later stages. In the middle part of the second half, the Bears put together a 16-6 run and trimmed the deficit to just six points which set up a tense final nine minutes of play.
The Eagles got a few timely buckets in the closing stages, including a three-pointer from Zacarry Douglas (Bowie, Md.) and a jumper and a pair of free throws from C.J. Wiggins (Richmond, Va.) to keep the lead and finish the game out.
Davis finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds for NCCU for his second consecutive double-double in back-to-back nights, and Pablo Rivas (Colón, Panama) followed with 16 points. Raekwon Harney (Winston-Salem, N.C.) dished out a game-high seven assists, and Jordan Perkins (Greensboro, N.C.) handed out five assists along with nine points.
Kendley was the leading man for MSU as he finished with a game-high 30 points, and both Martez Cameron (Chicago, Ill.) and David Syfax (Detroit, Mich.) collected 11 points.
The Eagles will now take on Hampton on Saturday, March 10 at 1:00 p.m. for a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Photos: Randy Singleton