Saturday, March 11, 2017

NCCU Eagles Fly Past UMES Hawks to MEAC Finals

NORFOLK, Virginia -- North Carolina Central University endured a 30-plus minute delay due to a shot clock malfunction in the first half, but that couldn't stop the Eagles' momentum as they advanced past Maryland Eastern Shore into the championship, 77-49 on Friday, March 10 at Scope Arena.

NCCU (24-8) opened the game on a 10-0 run and that set the tone for the Eagles for the rest of the game. NCCU led MDES (15-16) 14-2 when the shot clock above the goal where the Eagles were attacking went out at the 13:27 minute mark in the first half, and both sides had to wait over a half hour for a solution.

Eventually the timer came back on, and the Eagles went on to take a commanding 38-21 lead at the break after a big three-pointer from Patrick Cole (Newark, N.J.) with less than 10 seconds remaining in the half.

The Eagles opened the second half on a 21-4 run to lead 60-25 with 12:33 to play, and saw out the victory from there. Cole finished with a game-high 21 points with seven rebounds and six assists, and he was one of five Eagles with a double-digit point total.

Dajuan Graf (Charlotte, N.C.) had 14 points with four assists, and Kyle Benton (Long Beach, Calif.) had 12 points and a joint game-high eight rebounds shared with Del'vin Dickerson (Houston, Texas). Dickerson collected 11 points, followed by Pablo Rivas (Phoenix, Ariz.) who finished with 10 points and six boards.

Bakari Copeland (Decatur, Ga.) led MDES with 15 points.

NCCU will make its second championship appearance in the MEAC Tournament in the Division-I era on Saturday, March 11 with tipoff scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on ESPN2.



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