North Carolina Central stuns Spartans

Norfolk State suffers first MEAC loss of season
Norfolk State Joe Bryant.png
Posted at 12:01 AM, Feb 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-01 00:01:11-05

DURHAM, NC (WTKR)- Norfolk State led for almost the entire game, but lost the lead at the most crucial time and couldn't recover.

Kris Monroe's three-pointer with 1:37 remaining put North Carolina Central up 64-62, the Eagles' first lead of the game, and they would go on to stun the Spartans, 70-67. It marks NSU's first conference loss of the season, as the green and gold fall to 6-1 in the MEAC, 15-5 overall.

Things looked promising for Norfolk State for a good portion of the night, going on some offensive runs and sporting a defense that seemed to bend but not break for most of the game. The Spartans opened up a ten point lead eight minutes into the game and held off an Eagle attack to hold a 34-30 lead at the break.

Dana Tate's three free throws swelled NSU's lead back to nine with 13:37 remaining and, after an NCCU run cut the lead down to one point with 5:33 remaining, the Spartans seemed to take control again, opening the advantage back up to five with 4:09 to play.

Once NC Central took the lead, it never looked back. Monroe's three was followed up by a steal and bucket by Justin Wright to put the Spartans in a four point hole and the Eagles would nail their free throws down the stretch and hold on for the win. Norfolk State would get the ball back with four seconds left on a jump ball, but would turn it over on an offensive foul on the inbounds pass.

Free throws played a big factor in this game for NSU, which connected on just 12 of its 23 attempts from the charity stripe. The Spartans turned the ball over 20 times which led to 24 Eagle points.

Lake Taylor's Joe Bryant led the way for Norfolk State in the losing effort, scoring 18 points. Bryant knocked down all four of his free throw attempts, a category in which he's among the national leaders. Tate scored 17 points and pulled down eight rebounds and Jalen Hawkins added 12 points and tallied five steals. Wright scored a game-high 20 points to pace NCCU.

The Spartans return to action on Saturday when Maryland-Eastern Shore visits Echols Hall. Tip-off is set for 6:00 PM.