NORFOLK, Va. – No. 10 North Carolina A&T drew to a tie in the late moments of the second half Tuesday night in men’s first-round action, but No. 7 South Carolina State held on for the 63-54 win at Norfolk Scope Arena.
The Bulldogs (11-21) will face No. 2 seed Norfolk State in Wednesday’s quarterfinal at 8 p.m.
Jalen White and Edward Stephens led S.C. State with 16 points apiece, while Gabe McCray added seven points and grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds.
The Bulldogs shot 43.8 percent (21-for-48) from the floor – including a 56.5 percent clip (13-for-23) in the first half – and made seven of their 14 3-pointers. S.C. State also out-rebounded North Carolina A&T 33-29.
The Bulldogs led 37-21 at the break, thanks in large part to their hot shooting.
S.C. State led by as many as 13 in the second half, 41-28 with 16:37 left to play, but the Aggies methodically clawed their way back into the game, using a 24-11 run to tie the game at 52-52 with 3:43 left after a 3-pointer from Ahmad Abdullah.
Khary Doby cut S.C. State’s lead to 55-54 with 2:13 left, but Stephens answered on the other end with an off-balance trey as the shot clock expired to kick off a game-ending 8-0 run for the Bulldogs.
N.C. A&T (9-23) shot 43.8 percent (21-for-48) from the floor as well and went 7-for-18 from behind the arc. But whereas S.C. State hit 14 of 22 free throws, the Aggies went just 5-for-12 (41.7 percent) from the charity stripe.
Beckford led the Aggies with 17 points.