MEAC Men’s Basketball Opening Round
Winston Salem, N.C., March 6, 2012 — There were a couple of upsets in the first round. The Madness has started! There are a couple of teams known for doing damage in the MEAC tournament starting to show up once again.
#8 Hampton 68
#9 Morgan State 65
I predicted Hampton to be the top team in the MEAC and I was way off. I picked the Morgan State to finish third and I was way off on that one as well.
Darrion Pellum scored a game-high 23 points for the Pirates, but it was Jasper Williams who scored 20 points off the bench — including five three-pointers — who helped lead Hampton past the Bears. Morgan State finishes the 2011-2012 season with a record of 9-20.
Hampton’s defense also proved key to the game. They heavily outrebounded the Bears 48-35 and held Morgan State to shooting just 29% in the game.
Hampton will now face Savannah State in Part One of the Quarterfinals on Wednesday.
#7 North Carolina A&T 50
#10 Howard 51
In a contest that I predicted almost exactly where these two teams would be ranked (I had A&T at sixth, not seventh), Howard surprised a lot of people by pulling off the upset to continue their season.
The Bison needed help from juniors Mike Phillips and Calvin Thompson to seal the victory. Thompson led Howard with 15 points, two of which came in a lay-up with 48 seconds remaining. Two made free throws from Phillips help put Howard past the Aggies. North Carolina A&T finishes their season with a record of 12-20.
The Aggies were led by Adrian Powell, who finished with 16 points. They were without their leading scorer, Nic Simpson and their second-leading scorer, Marc Hill.
Howard, who wins their first MEAC tournament game since 2002, will now play against Norfolk State in Part One of the Quarterfinals on Wednesday.
#5 N.C. Central 60
#12 MD – Eastern Shore 43
In a contest I predicted the two exactly where they are seeded (check out the article for proof), a team that has a very underrated player may shock a lot of people in the MEAC.
Justin Leemow scored ten points in the game, six of which was part of 12-0 run early in the second half that helped the Eagles pull away easily over Eastern Shore. Dominique Sutton also added 13 points for North Carolina Central.
Percy Woods led the Hawks with 17 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists. His team trailed 29-26 at halftime; that was the closest they could come to winning. The Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks finish the season with a 7-23 record.
Meanwhile, North Carolina Central will move to play Bethune-Cookman in Part Two of the Quarterfinals.
#4 Bethune-Cookman 62
#13 South Carolina State 53
South Carolina State only won five games up to this point out of over thirty, and they came pretty close; although this game was never really that close.
The Wildcats beat SC State for the third time this year — and their third game in a row — beating the Aggies to move on in the MEAC Tournament. Stanley Elliott led Bethune-Cookman with 16 points and five rebounds. Khalif Toombs led South Carolina State with 13 points. Presano Bell added 12 points and seven rebounds.
South Carolina State finishes the season at 5-26 and on an eight-game losing streak. Bethune-Cookman plays North Carolina Central in Part Two of the Quarterfinals on Thursday.
#6 Coppin State 72
#11 Florida A&M 74
Two teams I wasn’t so accurate on predicting put up a good game late Tuesday night. FAMU shot 12-20 from three-point range, and picked up 19 points from both Amin Stevens and Avery Moore to upset the Eagles in the first round of the MEAC Conference Tournament.
Florida A&M gave Coppin State many opportunities to hang around. The Eagles outrebounded (31-27), assisted more (15-13), and made more free throws (20-16). They even led by 15 at halftime. But FAMU in the end was a better shooting team (47% to 40% ) and had more “team” in them than the Eagles did. Twice as many players on Coppin State played 25 minutes or more in this game than the Rattlers’ players. Akeem Ellis led Coppin State with 24 points.
The Coppin State Eagles finish the season at 14-16. Florida A&M, on the other hand, faces Delaware State in Part Two of the Quarterfinals on Thursday.