Norfolk State to face former MEAC foes in Boost Mobile HBCU Challenge hosted by Chris Paul

Courtesy of Alex Lehmbeck, Asst. SID, Norfolk State Athletics

NORFOLK, Va. – The Norfolk State men’s basketball team faces two familiar opponents this weekend, but in unfamiliar territory. MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. will play host to the 2022 Boost Mobile HBCU Challenge hosted by Chris Paul, where the Spartans (6-4) will battle Hampton (3-7) and North Carolina A&T (4-5).
Norfolk State’s matchup with Hampton is set for a 4 p.m. ET tipoff (1 p.m. local) on Saturday, before meeting the Aggies at 2 p.m. on Sunday (11 a.m. local). Both games will be broadcast on ESPN networks, with Saturday’s showdown airing on ESPN+ and Sunday’s contest airing on ESPNU.
Event History
Norfolk State competed in last year’s inaugural edition of the event, coming away with a pair of victories in two matchups. The Spartans defeated Hampton 70-61 in the first game, held in Phoenix, Ariz., before taking down Grambling State 70-63 the next day.
Kris Bankston dominated the weekend last year, averaging 19 points and 7.5 rebounds across both games while shooting 73.7 percent from the floor. Joe Bryant Jr. added 20 points in the Spartans’ win over Hampton, making all 12 of his free throw attempts.
Last Time Out
Norfolk State overcame a halftime deficit for the second straight game on Thursday night, defeating Bowling Green 81-75 at Echols Hall.
Cahiem Brown led the Spartans with 20 points and 10 rebounds, his first double-double of the season. Bankston racked up 16 points and 10 rebounds for another double-double as well, while Bryant Jr. added 17 points of his own.
Bryant, Ford Earn MEAC Recognitions
Despite playing just one game last week, Norfolk State men’s basketball racked up multiple MEAC recognitions for the team’s comeback victory over William & Mary. Bryant was named MEAC Co-Player of the Week and Chris Ford earned Defensive Player of the Week honors.
Bryant willed the Spartans offensively with 24 points and five rebounds, while Ford anchored the defense with a career-high seven blocks. The latter’s performance marked the first NSU player to record seven blocks in a game since Kyle O’Quinn achieved the feat against Morgan State on Jan. 14, 2012.
Scouting the Competition
Hampton spreads the wealth among their starters in the scoring department, with three different players averaging double-figures. Jordan Nesbitt leads the Pirates with 15.0 points and 7.7 rebounds per game, while Russell Dean dishes 4.2 assists per contest.
Kam Woods leads the Aggies with 18.1 points per game, shooting 38.1 percent from behind the arc this season. A&T has the ability to score high when it gets hot offensively, putting up 109 points against St. Andrews and 100 against Edward Waters.
All-Time Series
Norfolk State leads the all-time series against both foes, holding an 88-50 advantage over Hampton and 26-23 edge over North Carolina A&T. The Spartans met the Pirates twice last season, splitting the series.
After NSU won six straight matchups against NCA&T from 2011-17, the Aggies have defeated the Spartans in three of their last four meetings. Norfolk State’s last win over NCA&T came at Echols Hall on Feb. 18, 2018, by a score of 76-58. 

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