NORFOLK (WAVY) — A cold shooting streak that lasted more than 11 minutes ultimately doomed the No. 2 seed Norfolk State men’s basketball team on Saturday afternoon at Scope. Top seed North Carolina Central used a 19-0 run in the second half to pull away from the Spartans in a 67-59 win in the MEAC Championship game.
It was a nip-and-tuck first half, in which neither team led by more than six. It stayed that way in the second period, at least until NSU struggled mightily on offense. The Spartans were making their third-ever title game appearance and were searching for their second MEAC title ever.
The Spartans were also hurt by a 20-7 discrepancy in fouls not in their favor. It resulted in an 18-of-27 night for the Eagles from the foul line compared to a 6-of-6 effort for NSU. North Carolina Central had 14 attempts in the second half to zero for the Norfolk State.
“We really wanted it for this group, this is a great bunch of guys,” said Norfolk State coach Robert Jones. “They really embody the student athlete. This year we had the highest GPA of any men’s basketball team. You could sleep at night with these guys, you don’t have to worry about any kind of off the court issues, we really wanted it bad for this group.”
The Spartans will find out later if they will compete in a postseason tournament. NSU has participated in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament each of the last three years.
“I would really like to coach this group of guys again,” Jones said. “I have a tremendous love for them and it’s a sincere love for these guys.”