N.C. A&T falls short in season-opener against UNCG

N.C.+A%26T+falls+short+in+season-opener+against+UNCG

Alexis Davis, theSCORE Lead Reporter

Although the Aggies did fall short to their local rival UNCG, the team does show promise for their inaugural season in the Big South Conference. The Spartans only had the upper hand by four points with an ending score of 57-53. 

N.C. A&T started the ball game strong, going into halftime with the lead. However, the Aggies lost consistency in their offense which was one of the reasons the game was lost. Guard Marcus Watson, guard Tyler Maye and forward Justin Whatley contributed a lot in closing in on the scoring margins.

Watson finished the game with 17 points and eight rebounds. Maye matched Watson’s point total and had four rebounds. Whatley scored seven points and collected eight rebounds.

In typical game fashion, players have their night where all their shots are “nothing but net” or seem to kiss the backboard perfectly. For the Aggies, it simply was not their night in terms of shooting, finishing with 32 percent from the field.  Additionally, they were not as ambitious as they usually are from the three-point line, shooting ten percent from beyond the arc.

The Aggies also did not capitalize on their free throw opportunities. Collectively, the team was only able to knock down a little over half of their shots at the line. In retrospect, these missed free throws could have been a game-changer for N.C. A&T.

As the third quarter picked up, the Aggies stepped out onto the Coliseum floor with an extended fire from the first half. They opened the quarter with seven back-to-back buckets. Taking advantage of these scoring opportunities put the Aggies in a position to have their biggest lead of the night.

The third quarter also provided some exciting action for the crowd with an alley-oop from Langley to Watson. Langley did not contribute as much as predicted for the Aggies’ season-opener but he did provide his teammates with scoring opportunities, tallying up three assists and five boards. Although Langley was consistent in this matter, his team needed more from him in terms of points on the board.

N.C. A&T’s offense made wise and safe choices with the ball. Unfortunately, these choices did not end in necessary points but they did lead to the Aggies only having five turnovers as opposed to UNCG’s 18 turnovers.

Without having to take a peek at the film, N.C. A&T’s head coach Will Jones has been able to identify what his guys need to do  to set the tone for the remainder of the season.

“I felt like we had control of the game for about 30 minutes, and then in the last 10, we took some tough shots,” Coach Jones said. “We stopped sharing the basketball, they dominated us on the glass, and we didn’t make our free throws. They were able to get the momentum in their gym and come out with the victory, but I think the things that we need to correct are right in front of us, and they will be corrected.”

UNCG guard De’Monte Buckingham had the second-best game of his career. He led the Spartans in scoring with 28 points. Throughout the game, Buckingham was able to show his leadership skills on the court through his shot selection process and facilitating ball movement amongst his teammates.

With only three minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Aggies were up 49-48 but were not able to maintain or increase their lead. Buckingham took UNCG’s fate into his own hands and betted on himself. Ultimately, Buckingham placed his cards on the right person and ended up bringing home a victory for UNCG.

This weekend the Aggies will head further south to face Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, Florida on Nov. 13 at 2 p.m.