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MEAC Notebook

January 13, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments



Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Notebook

by Joaquin Mesa

The beginning of conference play is now behind us, and I am already longing for the days before the season when I could legitimately say that there was a MEAC team with at least a five hundred record. It seems that MEAC teams are having a bit of a rough patch in regards to their basketball playing. There are a few bright spots of course, like the consistent play of Terrance Woods, who seems to score twenty whether he is playing Marquette or Hampton. I guess if you throw up twelve and a half threes a game you are bound to hit some of them. Other then big T, there isn’t much to hype. Uh, I guess I could mention that North Carolina A&T is looking for their first win…I guess…

Delaware State Hornets (3-0 conference, 4-7 overall)

67-50 W Coppin State
68-60 W Morgan State

This team guts out their wins with good play from anyone given player on any given night. Against Morgan State it was Miles Davis with 24 points, five from behind the arc. Against Coppin State it was Aaron Williams off the bench with 15 points and 3 rebounds (a lot of rebounds when you consider the team lead is 5.5 per game). Against Charlotte, a twenty point loss, it was Terrance Hunter with 18 points and 3 rebounds. Terrance is the only one scoring over ten a game, but that might change with some more conference games under everyone’s belts.

Coppin State Eagles (4-1 conference, 6-10 overall)

67-50 L at Delaware State
54-49 W at Howard

This team had a rough go of it in the early stages with losses to Xavier, Cincinnati, Missouri and Michigan State. It’s almost as if they were playing a schedule that would have gotten them into the tourney without having to play in the “play-in game”, but they lost all the games that mattered. I guess their scheduling backfired. Being 2-9 in out-of-conference games doesn’t mean you can’t still win your conference, and with only one road loss to Delaware State hindering them, they are well on their way to doing so. They still have the best team in the league, and playing those tougher opponents will only help their cause, even if they lose.

South Carolina State Bulldogs (3-1 conference, 6-7 overall)

69-62 W at North Carolina A&T
78-53 W Maryland Eastern Shore

How is it that the top teams in the MEAC have stats leaders that can only put up half the numbers of most top teams in Division 1? Well, South Carolina State is trying to prove otherwise. Thurman Zimmerman is putting up 18.3 points per game and 7.5 rebounds per game respectively. Only two guys the league are averaging more rebounds per game, and neither is scoring more then Thurman. He is the Bulldog team. In a conference where the go-to-guys on most teams is up in the air, Thurman has a grip on that position. How can I be so sure, after all, Thurman is a big man. Well, he is shooting 80% from the line…not bad.

Morgan State Bears (3-2 conference, 4-8 overall)

62-45 W at Howard
68-60 L Delaware State

Aaron Andrews has led this team of average players to early season success in conference play, with their two conference loses coming to the top two teams in the league by a combined 10 points. How is it that a team gets such all around good play? Well, let six guys take at least 5 shots a game, that’s a start. With games against Maryland Eastern Shore, Norfolk State and North Carolina A&T coming up, the Golden Bears will have a chance to warm up and get some confidence going in conference play.

Hampton Pirates (3-2 conference, 5-11 overall)

87-81 L at Florida A&M
77-67 W at Bethune-Cookman

Jeff Granger tore it up against Bethune-Cookman, hitting 7 three pointers and scoring 29 points. He is the second leading scorer on the team, even though he is shooting 33% from the field. This bodes well considering that he won’t be facing as tough of defenses now that he is in conference play. Devin Green still leads the team in scoring and rebounds, and his presence on the inside makes this team a scary opponent come late February and tournament time. After all, the top team in the conference most likely won’t be the one in the NCAA tournament. It never ends up like that in this conference. Oh yeah, against Florida A&M in a loss, Granger had 40 points. Wow!

Florida A&M Rattlers (2-2 conference, 3-10 overall)

87-81 W Hampton
76-72 W Norfolk State

After losing to Marquette to end the non-conference schedule, the Rattlers played a close game at Coppin State before getting decimated at Morgan State. That seemed to wake them up, and Terrance Woods responded with a 27 point effort against Hampton. Demarcus Wilkins chips in consistently, and Moses White hands out the assists. A good all-around team that has only themselves to blame for those early two loses. You could also blame their defense, which seems to be non-existent to date.

Norfolk State Spartans (2-3 conference, 3-11 overall)

79-70 L at Bethune-Cookman
76-72 L at Florida A&M

One win in non-conference play seemed to disappear with two early wins against North Carolina A&T and South Carolina State. However, helping end Bethune-Cookman’s ten game losing streak didn’t help confidence any, and that was reflected in a 76-72 loss to Florida A&M. They played Florida A&M well, with two twenty point scorers, but Terrance Woods single-handedly beat them with 38 points, going 12-18 from the field and 8-12 from the arc. They get a short break against Maryland Eastern Shore and Howard, but after that, it is back to business against Delaware State. Better get a move on Spartans.

Howard Bison (1-2 conference, 3-9 overall)

62-45 L Morgan State
54-49 L Coppin State

Four guys got only one minute in the Morgan State game, then, only eight players took the floor at any given time during the Coppin State game. I guess head coach Frankie Allen has found his rotation, something that many of the other teams have yet to solidify. However, it doesn’t seem to be helping with two forty point losses recently. Shooting below forty percent both game won’t help anybody’s cause. The spread their shooting out in the game against Coppin State a little better, but Will Gant going 1-10 is simply killer. He made up for it with 10 rebounds, but they were probably off of his own misses (I didn’t watch the game, I am simply guessing).

Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (1-3 conference, 1-11 overall)

79-70 W Norfolk State
77-67 L Hampton

They got their first win of the season against a Norfolk State team that didn’t really respect them. What is the best way to celebrate such a victory? How about losing the very next game and allowing a player to score 29 points on you. That is how I would celebrate my first win of a season. Pape Ba wasn’t as intimidating as one might have though in the inside, and Granger dropping threes from the outside wasn’t going to help the defensive pressure on the man in the block. Bethune-Cookman has a chance to get back on the right track, but it has to come up with big wins against two top teams in the conference against Howard and Delaware State.

Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks (1-3 conference, 1-9 overall)

52-50 W at North Carolina A&T
78-53 L at South Carolina State

Maryland Eastern Shore beat the only winning-less team in the conference, so I wouldn’t boast about the one win they do have. There is really nothing to say about this team quite yet. Their leader, Tee Trotter has not performed to expectation, and has a horrible shooting average at 32% from the field and 30% from the arc. Twelve different players have started games for this team, and it doesn’t look to get any better.

North Carolina A&T Aggies (0-4 conference, 0-13 overall)

69-62 L South Carolina State
52-50 L Maryland Eastern Shore

They did play Maryland Eastern Shore close, but that isn’t saying too much. Every year there seems to be a team that shouldn’t be playing with the big boys in the MEAC conference. This is them.

     

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