N.C. A&T MBB struggles against tough schedule early in the season

N.C.+A%26T+MBB+struggles+against+tough+schedule+early+in+the+season

Alexis Davis, theSCORE Lead Reporter

N.C. A&T’s men’s basketball team is off to a slow start, but the team has many moving parts that can still potentially lead to a successful season as they begin their first season in the Big South.

The Aggies started off their season with losing a nail-biter to local rival UNCG. The Aggies controlled the majority of the game but late-game free throw shooting was the difference between the Aggies and the Spartans. The final score was 57-53.

N.C. A&T headed to Florida to face the Jacksonville Dolphins on Nov. 13, 2021. Similar to their first game, the Aggies were with the Dolphins throughout the entire way of the game. However, late game struggles hurt the Aggies chances of pulling out a win. The Dolphins beat the Aggies 63-54.

The Aggies lost another close one to the South Florida Bulls 56-54. N.C. A&T went into the half on top but ended up losing the lead in the second. The pattern so far in this early season has been not being able to close out games for the Aggies. 

N.C. A&T was able to put together 40 minutes of complete basketball against Greensboro College. The Aggies were able to get quality scoring from their starting lineup and their bench. Tyler Maye led the way with scoring off the bench with 18 points. The Aggies would go on to win 77-69. Coach Will Jones spoke highly of Maye after his performance on Nov. 18 2021.

“T-Maye has been plugged in all summer and all fall, and he’s been playing well,” said A&T head coach Will Jones. “In practice, in games, he’s locked in. He’s playing defense, he’s making his mid-range jump shots, and he’s locked in. He’s doing exactly what I’ve asked him to do, so he’s earned the right to play well, and that’s why he is playing well.” 

Unfortunately for Aggie fans, N.C. A&T would go on another three-game skid, losing to teams such as Wake Forest, Stanford and Samford. Playing against Power 5 schools like Wake Forest and Stanford were not going to be easy games, however, the Aggies were able to fight back against the Samford Bulldogs and almost completed the comeback. The Aggies fell short to the Bulldogs losing 77-75. 

The Aggies have ended on a high note however, beating the St. Francis Terriers 73-67. The Aggies were led by Sophomore Marcus Watson as he finished with 28 points and 8 rebounds. Watson has led the Aggies all season with scoring and getting boards, averaging 13.6 points and 5.4 rebounds. 

Students agree on the Aggies needing to be consistent throughout the entire game in order to begin adding wins to their record.

“Personally, most the games they’ve played have been close,” N.C. A&T senior Teonja Tatum said. “They start off with great momentum, so if they keep that drive throughout the games until the end of the season, it would be great.”

Other Aggies are simply excited to be able to watch N.C. A&T basketball again.

“I’m excited for this new season and can’t wait to be back in Club Corbett,” N.C. A&T senior Briana Walton said. “I have faith that the team will triumph through this new conference.”

Some Aggies also believe the team needs to begin to look internally to pull out a win while also depending on the support of their peers.

“I believe basketball season has the potential to go well,” N.C. A&T senior East Dockery said. “Even though we’re experiencing a slightly rocky start that is to be expected while adjusting to the new conference. I believe with the support of the student body and depending on team chemistry we have a chance to be successful or at least finish strong.”

The Aggies next game will be on Dec. 3 2021 at 5 p.m. against the Carver College Cougars. The game will take place at the Corbett Sports Center and will be streamed on ESPN+.