GREENSBORO — North Carolina A&T tipped off its basketball season against Edward Waters with about the results that you would expect for a Division I program going up against a team making the transition from the NAIA.
A&T dominated the game from start to finish, coming up with a 100-61 win in front of over 3,000 fans at Corbett Sports Center.
The game marked the debut of Phillip Shumpert as interim head coach. Shumpert said that the focus for his team was on itself rather than its opponent.
“I said it’s about us is about us having the discipline to execute the game plan. The discipline to execute our offense and defend and rebound,” Shumpert said after the game. “So it’s just about us getting better on the floor, improving the discipline piece that we need as we go into playing Iowa and Iowa State. So that’s that’s the main thing that we try we try to get out of it.”
Shumpert shared that a couple of North Carolina A&T bigs weren’t available to play on Monday night, forcing the team to rely more on the outside game. It worked well as the team tied a program record with 17 3-pointers made.
That hot shooting will likely be needed over the weekend as it heads to Iowa to face the University of Iowa on Friday and Iowa State on Sunday.”
“They’re way bigger than any of the competition that we would be playing that we played against tonight,” Shumpert said of Iowa. “They’ve got a lot of big, big, long guys who can shoot threes, good inside a lot of press with the 1-2-2 and pick up the tempo. So we got to make preparation to take care of the basketball and not be in a trade meet with those guys. We got to slow them down and get them less possessions as possible.”
One big that Shumpert did have at his disposal on Monday was Duncan Powell, A&T’s prized four-star commitment in its 2021 class. The opener was his first official game in two years, dating back to his high school career when a knee injury led him to sit out during the 2021 season. He sat out his true freshman season as well. Shumpert
“(Powell is) getting used to the speed of the game and the consistency you got to have on both ends of the floor in order for him to be successful. Because he goes out and quick burst plays hard for three or for minutes and kind of gets tired because he hasn’t been playing, like this past year. But as it moves along, he’s going to be an integral part of what we do as far as that at that forward position.”