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Mid-term grade time for Triangle HBCUs
 
Published Thursday, December 28, 2017
by Bonitta Best

Virginia State is the last man, er, woman standing as the only undefeated CIAA team (11-0) left. With the first semester coming to a close, time to take a look at how the Triangle HBCUs are fairing.

WOMEN

N.C. Central (2-10)

After winning her first game as the new head coach, Trisha Stafford-Odom’s Eagles have come back to earth, winners of just one game in their last 11 contests. But that was to be expected.

NCCU hasn’t had a winning season since it was a Division II member in the CIAA in 2006-07. Think about that. These things take time, no matter what coaches say about “winning now.”

It’s certainly not going to happen anytime soon when you’re scoring just 59.3 points per game and your opponent is at 76.6 points. Or when you’re shooting 33.9 percent from the field and 26.7 percent from 3-point range. Junior guard Rodneysha Martin is the only player averaging in double figures at 13.6 ppg.

After Saturday’s matchup at USC Upstate, a new season begins with conference play starting on Jan. 3 at Delaware State.

St. Augustine’s (4-8 overall, 1-2 CIAA)

The Falcons have passed their win total of last season and snapped a 33-game conference losing streak with a victory over Elizabeth City State on Dec. 16. SAU’s last CIAA win was Feb. 21, 2015, over Fayetteville State.

The smaller Falcons will have to use their quickness and speed to keep up with the competition. SAU is getting outrebounded by an average of 10.6 a game

Kaaliya Williams is the lone player averaging in double figures at 11.8 ppg.

The Falcons return to the court Jan. 4 at Bowie State and Jan. 6 at Lincoln (Pa.).

Shaw (3-9, 1-1)

The Bears have struggled in the first semester. Two of their wins are against William Peace and Elizabeth City State. They lost their final three contests of the year – two from blowouts of 20 points or more.

Shaw is shooting just 36.8 percent from the field, including 26.6 percent from 3-point range. One bright spot is the play of senior LaQuisha Taylor, who is averaging 20.4 points and 7.1 rebounds per game.

Coach Jacques Curtis is famous for holding out players till the second semester. We’ll see what unfolds.

The Bears host Barton next Tuesday at 6 p.m. before embarking on a five-game road trip, starting at Virginia Union on Thursday.

MEN

N.C. Central (5-8)

Coach LeVelle Moton told fans before the season that it would take time for the team to jell with eight newcomers. So stop grumbling!

There is no place like home for the Eagles, who are 4-1 in McDougald-McLendon Arena, but 1-7 on the road. Much of that is due to a tough nonconference schedule at the University of Illinois, Marshall and others.

NCCU’s most disappointing loss, however, was its only home defeat to Southeast Missouri State. The Eagles had just beaten the Redhawks a week earlier in Missouri.

Three players are averaging in double figures: Raasean Davis (15.5), Reggie Gardner Jr. (11.6) and Pablo Rivas (10.5).

NCCU’s nonconference schedule also ends Saturday when St. Andrews University comes to town. Then it’s a trip to DSU on Wednesday.

St. Augustine’s (5-8, 3-0)

What a turnabout for the Falcons.

After going 0-6, SAU has won 5 of 7, including its last three games. One of those victories was a monstrous upset over previously undefeated and nationally ranked Virginia State, 73-66.

The Falcons are undefeated in conference play and sit atop the Southern Division. They have already won half of their total conference wins of six last season.

Leading the charge has been a player not named Quincy January – although January missed a couple of games due to injury. Junior wingman Tyre Gathright is leading the team in scoring with 18 ppg. Despite his occasional absence, January is still the man with a double-double average of 15.2 points and 12.5 rebounds a game.

After taking on Belmont Abbey College Saturday, the Falcons travel at Bowie State next Thursday and Lincoln on Saturday.

Shaw (7-4, 2-0)

The Bears have more than lived up to their preseason prognostication. Shaw, undefeated in the division, has won its last five matchups and is a half-game out of first place with the Falcons.

Coach Joel Hopkins (above) has a deeper bench this year that is fully capable of competing against any lineup. Not only are the Bears deeper, but more disciplined. Several victories were come-from-behind affairs late in the game.

Four players are in double figures: Krishaun Myers (22 points), DeAngelo Stephens-Bell (19.9 points), Savon Goodman (17.6 points) and DaVaughn Kelsie (16.1 points).

Shaw concludes the first semester Saturday against Barton College at Spaulding before heading to VUU on Jan. 4.

 

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