In a rivalry game for the books, the NCCU Eagles Men’s Basketball team shut down the N.C. A & T Aggies Saturday with an 82-59 victory. The win was largely the result of a stunning 16 three-point shooting streak. A feat only matched once in NCCU basketball history, according to NCCU Athletics.
It was sweet revenge for the Eagles (14-6, 5-1 MEAC) who were bested twice last year by the Aggies (1-19, 0-7 MEAC) in tight games.
“I think we played well tonight,” said redshirt senior guard Patrick Cole. “I feel that the guys got a little caught up in a rivalry game in the first half but [the team] definitely stepped up during the second.”
Patrick Cole was a key player in the Eagles win. He scored 27 points and eight three-pointers against the Aggies, tying the record as the third player to score the most three-pointers in a single game in NCCU men’s basketball history.
“I shot pretty well and I give all the credit to guard John Guerra for rebounding my shots after practice,” said Cole. “During practice Friday night, I struggled shooting and missed all my shots.”
In the first half of the game, NCCU started out with a 10-0 run, but the Aggies responded back with 9-0 run. Both teams struggled with some of their shots but at the end of the first half, the Eagles were up by a 10 point lead at 39-29.
At the second half, NCCU was able to break away with a 22 point lead at the nine-minute mark.
“It was really important for us to win tonight since we got beat by them twice last year at A&T and at home,” explained red shirt senior guard Dajuan Graf. “I felt that we got a couple stops and created separation in the second half always being up at least 10 points over the half.”
Graf ended the game with 11 points and 10 assist.
At the post-game media press conference Head Coach LeVelle Moton talked about his thoughts on the game and the players’ performance that night.
“I told our guys before the game to play with emotion and to control the pace of the game,” he said.
Moton said he was excited that seniors Cole and Graf stepped up and led the team to victory.
“I directly told Patrick Cole and Dajuan Graf that this is their team and it up to them to lead the team to victory,” said Moton.
He added he thought the Eagles played “too cool in the first half” because the team focused too much on rivalry rather than the fundamentals.
“I told them to remember that and it definitely showed in the second half,” Moton said.
A strong offense and defense has rewarded the Eagles with a five game winning streak and an 8-1 at home record.
“I feel that we are turning the corner offensively and defensively,” said Cole. “Anytime you hold a team to under 60 points that’s a good sign.”