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Black College News

Topsy-turvy races head into final month

Savannah State and North Carolina A&T lead the men’s MEAC race with 7-1 records.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff is the SWAC men’s leader with an 8-1 conference mark.

Morehouse is one of only two undefeated teams in NCAA Div. I or II basketball (No. 1 ranked West Liberty is the other) and currently is tied for first in the SIAC (with Clark Atlanta) with a 13-0 conference mark.

Who would’ve thunk it? None of these teams was picked to be near first place when the season started.

Aggie Pride, SSU biding its time A&T was coming off a woeful 3-29 2016-17 campaign and was picked by conference coaches to finish 13th (last) in the MEAC race.

Second-year head coach Jay Joiner however brought in seven new players including a new starting five that has combined with five holdovers to vault the 13-9 Aggies into the first-place tie. The Aggies are spreading the wealth so much that only new 6-8 center Femi Olujobi (18.1 ppg.) is averaging double figures.

Head coach Horace Broadnax’s squad at Savannah State was picked to finish in fifth as it prepares to exit Div. I and the MEAC. If so, the former Georgetown defensive wiz has decided to send his team out with guns blazing.

The Tigers are tied for first place with A&T while averaging a league-best 83.0 points per game. They lead the MEAC and all of Div. I putting up 898 3s in 22 games, a whopping 48.2 shots from behind the arc per game. SSU has scored 659 points in seven MEAC games (94.1 ppg.) including topping the 100-point mark in its last three contests.

SSU has three double-figure scorers led by Dexter McClanahan’s 15.7 ppg. and two more that average above 9 points per game A&T is home this week to take on Hampton Saturday and Delaware State Monday. SSU is on the road at South Carolina State Saturday. How ’bout them Golden Lions Guess where Arkansas-Pine Bluff was picked to finish in the 10-team SWAC race? Eighth, just ahead of Mississippi Valley State and Alabama A&M.

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Instead, the 8-15 Golden Lions under George Ivory are setting the pace in the SWAC behind league-scoring leader and juco transfer, 6-6 guard Martaveous McKnight’s league-leading 18.8 points per game. Six-five junior guard Charles Jackson (10.0 ppg.) is the only other player scoring in double-digits.

After starting the season losing their first 14 games, the Golden Lions won seven straight SWAC contests before being nipped by Grambling (69-68) Saturday. They came back to beat second-place Jackson State Monday (60-58). They host Alabama A&M Saturday and Alabama State Monday.

The ‘House is on Fire Morehouse was considered the fourth best team in the SIAC East in the preseason behind Clark Atlanta, Benedict and Claflin. Instead, the Maroon Tigers under Grady Brewer have run off 18 straight wins to not only top the SIAC race but move into the national spotlight ranked 11th last week in the NABC Div. II poll.

The Tigers have three double-figure scorers in Tyrius Walker (23.4 ppg.), Martravious Little (13.7) and Omar Alston (11.3). Alston pulls down 9.1 rebounds per game, third-best in the league, and tops the league shooting 65% from the floor. Walker also hands out 3.9 assists and gets 2.1 steals per game. The Maroon Tigers are back in action at Benedict on Monday and then travel to Claflin on Wednesday.

LUT WILLIAMS
BCSP Editor

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