NORFOLK, Va. - Junior Alex Brown scored a career-high 16 points to lead five players in double figures as the Norfolk State men's basketball team won its fifth in a row with an 83-69 win over North Carolina A&T on Monday night at Joseph Echols Hall.
In a conference matchup, NSU closed out the month of January in style, shooting better than 50 percent from the field and knocking down 13 3-pointers. Brown made four of those, hitting 4-of-6 from long distance and 6-of-9 overall for his first career game in double figures.
He was not the only player to have a solid game. Senior Jonathan Wade led all scorers with 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting, including 4-of-9 from deep. Senior Kerwin Okoro tallied 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting, which included three treys.
Altogether, NSU made 13-of-27 from beyond the arc, falling one short of the school record of 14 set last year. The victory improved its record to 9-13 overall as well as 6-2 in the MEAC.
The Spartans led by as much as 24 early in the second half as they sent the Aggies to their 20th straight loss. North Carolina A&T fell to 0-8 in the conference and 1-20 overall.
The best stretch of the game for NSU came sandwiched around halftime. The Spartans closed the first half on a 16-2 run and then came out of the locker room on an 18-4 run. All 18 of those points came within the first five minutes of the second period. Okoro began it with a trey in the first minute of play, and junior Zaynah Robinson and Wade finished the run with 3-pointers of their own as the lead swelled to 54-30.
Robinson finished with a double-double of 12 points and 11 assists, his second career game in double figures for assists.
But after the Spartans took their biggest lead of the game, the Aggies responded by scoring 11 of the next 14 points. Brown had the only points for NSU during that time, and he scored five more to add to his career night as the Spartans jumped back ahead by 23 with eight and a half minutes left.
After Okoro's 3-pointer with 4:39 to go made it 75-55, the Aggies chipped away at the lead after the game was well in hand. They got as close as 13 in the last minute of play.
Aaron Scales had 13 points and a game-high eight rebounds, seven on the offensive glass, to pace A&T. The Aggies shot 26-of-64 for the contest (40.6 percent) and 8-of-25 from long range.
Norfolk State, though, made 29-of-54 (53.7 percent) from the floor. The Aggies were able to exploit NSU on the glass, outrebounding the Spartans 37-29, including 14-3 in offensive boards. That gave them a 16-3 edge in second-chance points against NSU for the night.
Junior Alex Long also reached double figures with 10 points. He completed a three-point play to help NSU build an early seven-point lead four and a half minutes into the game. Raymon Pratt, though, countered with three 3-pointers - his only points of the game - during a 16-5 run for the Aggies that put them ahead by four, 22-18, with 8:13 left in the first half.
That was about all A&T wrote for the opening period, as a few minutes later Okoro's layup began that closing 16-2 run that ended the half. Brown capped it with a couple of 3-pointers from the left side as he reached a new career half before the break.
The Spartans led 36-26 going into halftime.
NSU led 14-7 in points off turnovers for the night, coughing up the ball just 10 times.
NSU will hit the road for a pair of games next weekend. Up first, the Spartans travel to South Carolina State for a Saturday afternoon contest.