|Ingram pours in 30 as Eagles advance to semifinals||< All News|
|Wednesday, March 12, 2014|
Norfolk, VA—Jeremy Ingram poured in a game-high 30 points to lead North Carolina Central University to a convincing 92-46 win over Howard in the quarterfinal round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament at the Norfolk Scope.
The Bison finish the season at 8-25 while the Eagles (26-5), the regular season champion move on the semifinal round where they will face the winner of the quarterfinal match-up between Norfolk State and Savannah State on Thursday at 8 pm.
North Carolina Central, which extended its win streak to 18, made quick work of the Bison, bolting out to a 26-11 lead in the first 10 minutes, expanding it to 47-23 at the half, and never looked back.
Ingram, the 2013-14 MEAC Player of the Year, showed why as he scored 21 points on seven of eight shooting from the field in the first stanza. Alfonzo Houston (9 points) and Jay Copeland (7 points) combined for 16 points for good measure. The Eagles shot a sizzling 71 percent (15 of 21) in the first 20 minutes.
“NCCU is a very good team and very hard to prepare for,” said Howard head coach Kevin Nickelberry. “Basically, they ran us out of our matchup zone early. Ingram hit some shots early. We went man-to-man and their inside guys starting taking over, getting us into foul trouble. I'm sure our young guys will learn from this experience.”
Howard struggled against the North Carolina Central defense, missing 18 of 23 from the floor. Freshman guard James “J-Byrd” Daniel led the way with 10 points.
“They play you so hard on defense, said Howard junior guard Prince Okoroh. “They try to get every rebound. It's tough to adjust because they switch defenses constantly. On offense they share the ball so well. They're a very good overall team.”
It was more of the same in the second half as Ingram, Houston and Copeland continued to score from the perimeter (50 percent on six of 12 from three-point range) and in the paint (18-2 advantage). Houston tallied 13 and Copeland 11 but 11 different players scored.
Daniel, the MEAC Rookie of the Year, finished with 15 points but no other Bison player reached double figures.