Game #9-109: North Carolina A&T at North Carolina-Greensboro SpartansNovember 28, 2012 7:00 pm
On Wednesday, I decided to make my first long midweek trip of the season when I picked the city rivalry game between UNC-Greensboro and North Carolina A&T. I originally had hopes of going to another city rivalry between Charleston and Charleston Southern, but tickets to that game sold out in a matter of minutes. I would still be able to see a competitive rivalry, but would just have to drive a ways further.
I am not a big fan of the Greensboro Coliseum with its pay for parking and elevated prices. Not to mention the dreaded black curtain of doom, which I believe is making its first appearance of the year.
The city of Greensboro is trying to upgrade the facility though with a 24 million dollar renovation plan
. The beginnings of the project were already showing signs with the second level closed off due to construction.
The time it takes to get up to Greensboro usually varies depending on the traffic, but I ended up getting there fairly early. I did a lap of the concourse to see if there was anything new, but most of the vendors were still the same along with the higher prices. I had noticed last year that the Coliseum did have alcohol sales, but thought it was kind of crazy that some people were shelling out the 8-to-10 bucks for one beer for a UNCG game.
Being one for a good deal though, I was able to find the bar within the Coliseum which had $3 PBRs which was obviously the option I was going to go for considering Diet Coke was the same price. The bar had a decent view of the court, but I decided that would not be very mid-majorly of me to watch the game from up there and made my way to my seat.
One complaint I had about UNCG last year was the lack of student atmosphere. That seems to have changed this year, as the students and Spartan band were all grouped to one side of the court and plenty of students stood the whole game.
I was hoping for an appearance from the North Carolina A&T band like last year when the Aggies knocked off the Spartans
, but no such luck since N.C. A&T was considered the home team in the previous meeting.
This would be my first time seeing the Aggies play, but I did have several chances to see UNCG last year when they were mainly led by returnees Trevis Simpson and Derell Armstrong. At first glance, the Spartans were playing much like they did last year where they want a high-paced game, whereas the Aggies wanted to slow things down. Neither team could establish much of what they wanted as the lead was never more than three points either way in the first 10 minutes.
A Simpson three would create a small advantage for the Spartans, but the Aggies responded with a 9-2 run to tie the game at 22. From then on, Jeremy Underwood gave A&T a big push with nine straight for his team. UNCG was executing well, but could not buy a bucket. There were plenty of put-back tries, but they could not get anything to fall and the Aggies had a somewhat surprising 42-30 lead at the half.
I had not seen many decent halftime shows this year since the season opener when I got to see Red Panda, but tonight we had Steve Max, the master of Simon Says. Max was at Wright State not too long ago where my fearless captain Mike Miller covered his act
. I guess this makes Mr. Max the unofficial halftime act of Under a Blood Red Line.
Coming out for the second half, the Spartans continued their struggles and this time it was turnovers that the Aggies were converting into points. Things looked bleak for the Spartans as A&T extended its lead to 48-33 at the first media timeout. I noticed the streaky Armstrong had yet to score for UNCG and as soon as I made note of it he dropped in two lay-ups to give UNCG a boost.
That boost would be short lived, as it seemed like every possible run UNCG would try to make would be answered by A&T. Timely threes from Jean Louisme and Lamont Middleton stopped any momentum from the Spartans.
The last portion of the game turned into a slog with fouls on both ends of the court. The teams combined to shoot 87 free throws as the game ever so slowly ticked away. UNCG could not get any closer than seven in the final minutes, as the Aggies were clutch with their multitude of free-throw opportunities and ended up toppling their crosstown rivals 90-79.
It was a good win for the MEAC to get a win over a SoCon team and the second year in a row that A&T was able to knock off UNCG. While the game experience was better at the Coliseum than last year, the Spartan fans were quick to give-up on their team as many fans filed out while there was plenty of time left. Hopefully those fans will come back to support their team Saturday when conference play begins. Meanwhile, North Carolina A&T enters on a big positive as they face another rival in N.C. Central, a game I'm looking forward to attending so I can see "The Crunkest Gym in America