Norfolk State and North Carolina Central have won the last five MEAC Tournament titles, so you knew it was going to be a battle on Friday night.
NSU defeated North Carolina Central in the 2023 MEAC semifinals by a score of 72-65 in overtime on Friday night. The win put NSU in the MEAC title game for the fifth season in a row and a win over Howard would give NSU its third-straight MEAC title.
Norfolk State went into halftime with a 22-20 lead, but North Carolina Central wouldn’t go down without a fight, tying things up at the end of regulation with a 3-pointer from Justin Wright. The Eagles couldn’t finish the job though, getting outscored 14-7 in overtime.
Joe Bryant led the way for Norfolk, putting up 23 points to go along with 10 boards. As a team, the Spartans shot 38 percent from the field, 31 percent from behind the 3-point arc, and 82 percent from the free throw line. The advanced stats told a similar story, as the team put up 1.02 points per possession on 54% true shooting.
Kris Monroe put up 13 points to lead NCCU. The Eagles shot 21-of-60 from the field and 10-of-27 from behind the arc. Their shooting was part of larger offensive struggles that contributed to the loss. North Carolina Central only mustered 0.86 points per possession on 47 percent true shooting. It also attempted 18 free throws, compared to 39 for Norfolk State.
Friday’s win was the latest for Norfolk State, who took down Coppin St. in the MEAC quarterfinals. It plays next on March 11 in a matchup with Howard. On the other side, NCCU fell to 18-12 with the loss. The team will have to wait until next year for redemption, as this was its final game of the season.
This content was produced using Artificial Intelligence technology before being approved and published by HBCU Gameday. Sam Quick is a moniker for our AI technology and is not an actual person.