Courtesy of NC Central Athletics
N.C. Central 0-1,0-0 MEAC
Virginia 1-0,0-0 ACC
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The North Carolina Central University men’s basketball program erased a 16-point first half deficit with a 12-0 run in the second half to take a two-point lead with just under 15 minutes remaining, but No. 18 Virginia was able to surge past the Eagles to take a 73-61 decision in the season-opener at John Paul Jones Arena on Monday, Nov. 7.
Eric Boone (Lexington, Ky.) put the first points of the year on the board for NCCU (0-1) with a layup to put the Eagles in the scorebook first, but UVA (1-0) quickly regrouped to open up its largest lead of the game at 31-15 with 7:08 left in the first 20 minutes. The Eagles steadily whittled away at the lead, and Justin Wright (Greenville, N.C.) hit a step back trey with six seconds left in the period to send his squad to the locker room down by just eight points, at 38-30.
The Eagles kept the pressure on the Cavaliers in the second half, and quickly evaporated the deficit with a 12-0 run over a 3:37 span. That was done with help from seven points from Boone, including the go-ahead layup to put NCCU in front, 44-43 with 14:21 remaining in the contest. UVA was able to immediately break its scoring drought with a three-pointer by Kihei Clark (Woodland Hills, Calif.) on its next possession, and the Cavaliers kept the lead for the remainder of the game on the way to the 73-61 final score.
NCCU was efficient from the floor in the second half, as it shot 50 percent from the floor (12-for-24), and 66.7 percent from the arc (4-for-6).
Wright led the Eagles with an impressive 20-points as he went 3-for-3 from the arc, and tacked on two steals on defense. Boone followed suit with 18 points with three steals and three assists. Brendan Medley-Bacon (Baltimore, Md.) chipped in six points and six rebounds in his debut in maroon and gray.
Armaan Franklin (Indianapolis, Ind.) posted a game-high 21 points to lead the Cavaliers, and knocked down four triples. He was one of four UVA players to reach double-digits, as Reece Beekman (Milwaukee, Wis.), Francisco Caffaro (Santa Fe, Argentina) and Kadin Shedrick (Holly Springs, N.C.) each scored 10 points. Beekman contributed five assists, and Shedrick pulled down seven boards.
The Eagles will continue their season-opening road trip on Thursday, Nov. 10 at Appalachian State.