Game #9-121: North Carolina Central at North Carolina A&T AggiesDecember 1, 2012 4:00 pm
Corbett Sports Center
I was pretty excited on my drive up to Greensboro Saturday afternoon. I would be pulling another double-header when that night I would go over to see Elon and Charleston play. It was the first game of the day that I was most excited for though. Two MEAC rivals would be squaring off when North Carolina A&T would host North Carolina Central.
I did have my apprehensions at first about standing out
in the crowd, but got over it quickly and just wanted to catch the game. I had not yet been to the Corbett Sports Center and that was the main factor behind wanting to go. I had read about the ardent fan support the Aggie faithful have had for their team over the years no matter what A&T's record has been. Kyle mentioned it
as one of his favorite atmosphere's years ago when he was with ESPN and it was also voted 14th best atmosphere in a fan poll.
I did YouTube searches of North Carolina A&T and found crazy videos of the Dawg Pound at its best
. I figured with the rival Eagles coming to play, it would be an insane environment, nothing like I had seen at a basketball game before.
I guess I should not believe everything I see and read though. The Aggie fans did come out in force and while it was not a sellout, there were about 4,000-5,000 people in attendance. They were the quietest 4,000-5,000 people I have ever heard though.
There were a few highlights, but they were few and far between. When the clock malfunctioned very early on, there was a cool choreographed dance routine performed by the Greeks during the break, but they were never to be seen again. The band was good, but nothing that really blew me away like I was expecting based upon what I had heard.
During the course of the action, the students and fans were nonexistent. There was no noise level on offense or defense for the Aggies and it was pretty quiet when either team was shooting free throws. "THIS is a rivalry?!" I thought to myself as the A&T students seemed bored to be there.
It's not as if it was a bad game either. I had seen the Aggies a few days earlier
when they beat city rival UNCG where they played terrific team ball. I had never seen NCCU before, but knew they were one of the early favorites for the MEAC crown.
NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL 66, at NORTH CAROLINA A&T 62
Both teams looked even at the start when they were trading baskets. A&T was using some tough interior defense, but the Eagles stuck with it to garner their first few points. NCCU could not pull away though as A&T, and in particular Adrian Powell, would have an answer. The Aggies would gain a small lead of 19-17, but Stanton Kidd would answer with a posterizing #omgdunx
on the other end.
Really blurry, but it's not like I am a professional here.
Neither team could gain any momentum in the first half as they would trade the lead or tie. Both teams would get very careless with the ball in the last three minutes and neither would score, leaving it tied at 25 going into the half.
The halftime entertainment was one of the weirdest acts I have ever seen. They were the Anton Brothers from Argentina. The bulkier Anton brother would lie on his back in a specialized chair and toss and flip the lighter Anton in a succession of acrobatic stunts with his feet. What was amazing/cringe worthy was the lighter Anton would mostly land crotch or ass first on his brother's feet. It really has to be seen
to get a good description of what is going on.
After that "interesting" display of athleticism, it was time for the second half. An 8-2 run out of the gate from Central forced a quick Aggie timeout. A&T settled down and Powell brought them back. Powell was much of the offense for the Aggies in the second half. Jean Louisme chipped in as well, but Powell was unstoppable drilling three consecutive three-pointers in one stretch.
The Eagles would weather the onslaught from Powell with a big game from Kidd. It felt like he was trying to dunk the ball whenever he got his hands on it, but he did show some range by stepping out and hitting a three.
The rest of the half played out much like the first half did with neither team gaining much traction. Powell would make a jumper for a small lead, but Kidd responded with a putback dunk on the other end to tie the game at 52 with six minutes to go.
With time winding down it looked as if Central would creep away with a win after a Ray Willis three-point play gave them a four point lead. Meanwhile, Powell was flubbing his free throw attempts. I heard a fan next to me say they should let Powell shoot his free throws from the three-point line and not seconds later, Powell came down and buried one to tie the game with a minute to go. Finally, that got a big reaction from the crowd. It had only taken 39 minutes of action for the Aggie fans to make some sustained noise.
NC Central had the ball with a little over a minute to go. They drained the clock and Jeremy Ingram missed a three, but it was corralled by Willis and the Eagles reset with a timeout. Again, NCCU milked the shot clock and were able to find a cutting Kidd along the baseline. He was intentionally fouled, otherwise he would have dunked it home. Four free throws later and the game was sealed. Some desperation threes from A&T were off the mark and North Carolina Central got an important road MEAC win.
While I was expecting a lot more in total game experience, at least I got to see a great game. A&T COULD be a really tough place to play. Everything is there for an imposing student section and overall great gameday experience. It may have been there in years past and I could have just missed out. But it was a shame for the home team to lose a close game when they could have been so much more into it.
NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL 5-4 (1-0) -- T. Simpson 6-13 2-4 17; E. Chapman 0-6 0-0 0; S. Kidd 5-11 13-13 24; J. Ingram 6-11 0-2 16; J. Copeland Jr. 3-4 3-5 9; R. Willis 6-7 5-5 17; D. Ferguson 0-4 0-0 0; K. Jawara 0-2 0-0 0; A. Houston 0-2 0-0 0; E. Anyaorah 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 20-48 21-25 66.
NORTH CAROLINA A&T 3-6 (0-1) -- A. Powell 10-18 3-7 29; A. Witter 1-4 4-4 7; J. Louisme 3-11 1-2 9; B. Beckford 3-6 1-1 7; J. Underwood 1-4 2-2 4; L. Middleton 2-7 0-0 4; D. Upchurch 0-2 2-2 2; R. Buck 0-4 0-0 0; L. Smith 0-2 0-0 0; W. Siverand 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-58 13-18 62.
Three-point goals: NCC 5-14 (E. Anyaorah 0-1; E. Chapman 0-3; J. Ingram 4-5; D. Ferguson 0-3; S. Kidd 1-2), NCAT 9-26 (R. Buck 0-1; A. Powell 6-10; A. Witter 1-4; J. Underwood 0-1; J. Louisme 2-8; L. Middleton 0-2); Rebounds: NCC 36 (J. Copeland 10), NCAT 26 (A. Powell 6); Assists: NCC 11 (E. Chapman 9), NCAT 12 (A. Witter 4); Total Fouls -- NCC 20, NCAT 19; Fouled Out: NCC-None; NCAT-None.