NORFOLK, Va., – No. 1 North Carolina A&T State moved on to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Basketball Tournament finals after outlasting No. 12 Florida A&M, 65-61, inside the Norfolk Scope Arena.
Defensively, the Aggies held Florida A&M under 34-percent (20-of-59) from the field while forcing 19 Rattler turnovers.
On the offensive end, North Carolina A&T State shot 40-percent (27-of-67) while outscoring Florida A&M in the paint, 24-16.
Kala Green led the Aggies with a team-high 18 points off the bench, shooting 6-of-11 from the floor. C’Coriea Foy, All-MEAC selection, and Cinia McCray netted 15 and 14, respectively, in the win.
Florida A&M opened the second half on a 13-0 run and took its biggest lead of the game with less than six minutes remaining in the third, 40-32.
North Carolina A&T State responded with a 14-2 spark, capped off by a layup from All-MEAC honoree Alexus Lessears, and reclaimed the advantage late in the period, 46-42.
With less than 90 seconds left in the third, the Aggies held a four-point lead until a three-pointer by Florida A&M’s De’Ayra Davis sliced the margin down to one going into the fourth, 47-46.
North Carolina A&T State begin the fourth with a 13-2 run and grabbed its biggest lead of the game at the 6:25 mark, 60-48.
Florida A&M refused to go away as they went on a run of their own and cut the deficit down to one, 62-61, with under two remaining, but North Carolina A&T State’s defense would prevail, holding the Aggies scoreless for the rest of the game.
North Carolina A&T State won rebounding battle, 47-39, led by Lessears grabbing a team-best 12 boards in the victory.
After trailing, 11-9, in the opening period, Florida A&M ended the quarter on a 10-4 spurt and took a four-point advantage after one, 19-15.
North Carolina A&T State clamped down defensively, holding the Rattlers to 23-percent (3-of-13), and took a nine-point lead with under a minute before halftime, 32-23. Florida A&M connected on a layup and a pair of free throws to cut into the Aggies’ intermission lead, 32-27.
Florida A&M (8-24) reached the MEAC Semifinals for the second consecutive season despite finishing 12th in league play. Shakeyrra Morrison produced a double-double, ending with 15 points and 15 rebounds. Florence Ouattara, All-MEAC recipient, had a game-high 20 points in a losing effort.