The crowd rose to their feet. Chants of defense and ‘go Eagles’ resounded last night in McLendon-McDougald Gymnasium as N.C. Central University battled for victory against Elizabeth City State University.
With eight seconds left on the clock, Jonathan Moore came through for the Eagles once again, scoring the game winning basket and securing the 65-63 win for NCCU.
At halftime, the Eagles were down 22-31.
“When we went into the locker room, Coach challenged us, so we had to come out change things,” said guard Markael Brace. “We had to break their will to win.”
The Eagles did just that down the stretch. With 3:50 left in regulation, the Eagles trailed 55-57 after a big three-point field goal by Brace. The Eagles continued to battle to the finish.
Brace had the hot hand, shooting five of six from the field including going two for two from beyond the arc.
With one minute left in regulation, Brace shot his second critical three-pointer to bring the Eagles within one point.
With less than a minute left in regulation, the ball ended up in Moore’s hands.
“I didn’t want to go into overtime,” said Moore. “That was my only concern.”
Moore scored a crucial basket to put the Eagles up by one. Moore hit one of his two free throws to put the Eagles up by two with 8.8 seconds left in the game. The Vikings where unable to put together an answer the Eagle’s comeback effort
The Eagles played without their starting center, Jason Hervey who is suffering from a leg injury. “[Without Jason] we had to have a bigger defensive presence on the court,” said Moore. “Offensively, I had to play a bigger role and take more shots.”
Moore recorded his 10th double-double of the season.
NCCU’s Lady Eagles fell to the Lady Vikings with a final score of 57-75. The Lady Eagles were lead with a valiant second half effort by Cassie King who scored 20 of her 25 points in the second half.
At half time, the Lady Eagles brought the score to a 33-33 tie after trailing by as much as six early in the half. That’s the closest the Lady Eagles ever were.
“It was a bad night all over,” said King. “We’re just going to take this game as motivation.”
Natasha Bailey scored a career high 13 points, all of which came in the first half.
“They were an OK team, but we should have beat them,” said Bailey who went six for eight from the field. The Lady Eagles are now 12-12 overall with an 8-5 record in the CIAA West.
Other game notables include Porschia Holmes who pulled in seven rebounds and Alisha Battle was the third leading Lady Eagle scorer with seven points.
The men and women will play Virginia Union this Saturday at home. The game will be televised on ESPN.