NORFOLK, Va. – The Norfolk State men’s basketball team can lock up the No. 2 seed in the MEAC tournament and sweep the regular season series against Hampton when the two teams play on national TV on Monday night. NSU will travel across the water to take on the Pirates at 9 p.m. in a live broadcast on ESPNU from the HU Convocation Center.
The Spartans own a 12-3 record on the year and sit alone in second place in the league. First-place North Carolina Central (13-1) has already locked up the No. 1 seed. Morgan State currently sits 10-4 with Hampton sporting a 9-5 MEAC mark.
A win would give the Spartans the No. 2 seed with an outside shot at sharing the regular season title should the Eagles lose their last two games. NSU could fall to the No. 3 seed if it lost at Hampton and Morgan State won its last two games. Finishing as the No. 2 seed would set the Spartans up for the more favorable Wednesday-Friday-Saturday schedule at the conference tournament next week.
The game will be shown live on ESPNU and WatchESPN with Kevin Brown and Stan Lewter on the call in NSU’s second official televised game of the season. NSU also made an appearance of FS1 in its game at Butler.
The game will also be broadcast live on Star 1310 AM as well as Hot 91.1 FM with Ross Gordon and Julee O’Neal on the call. Live audio is available through www.star1310.com as well as hot91.nsu.edu:8000/128. Both feeds are available on smartphones through the Star 1310 website or through www.TuneIn.com or the TuneIn Radio App (search for “WNSB”) for Hot 91.1.
Fans can also follow along with Hampton’s live stats.
Norfolk State won the first meeting this year against Hampton at home by a 79-62 score, with Jonathan Wade scoring 23 points to lead the way. It improved NSU’s all-time record to 85-45 against the Pirates in a series first played in 1958-59. Lately, though, one team has had the edge over the other. Before last year, when the teams split their regular season meetings, one team or the other had swept the regular season meetings for eight straight years.
The Pirates fell on Saturday at Morgan State to fall to fourth place in the league at 9-5 as well as 12-15 overall. It marked their second loss in three games after winning five straight. Jermaine Marrow scored 13 to drop his season average to 16.0 points per game. Lawrence Cooks also scores in double figures at 11.2 points, with Kalin Fisher (8.9) and Trevond Barnes (7.2) third and fourth on the team, respectively, in scoring. Hampton scores 69 per game while giving up 71. A.J. Astroth, meanwhile, averages a team-best 6.0 rebounds to help the Pirates to a +2.3 rebounding margin on the year. Like NSU, Hampton won just one game against a Division I non-conference opponent, that being William & Mary in early December.
Last Time Out
Charles Williams scored a game-high 28 points, but Howard could never get a run going in the second half as NSU came away with a 73-65 win over the Bison on Saturday night at Joseph Echols Hall. The Spartans got 16 points from Jonathan Wade and 13 from Kerwin Okoro as they also celebrated Senior Night. Norfolk State shot 48 percent from the floor compared to just 33 percent for Howard. The Bison held a 48-37 edge on the glass, including 23-8 in offensive rebounds that led to a 16-4 advantage in second-chance points. Wade also had 11 rebounds for his sixth double-double in the last seven games. Zaynah Robinson scored 16 points, and Alex Long added 12 points and six rebounds.
Because Savannah State is ineligible for postseason play, the top four teams in the standings this year will get first-round MEAC tournament byes. Hampton, at five losses, is just ahead of both SSU and Maryland Eastern Shore (8-6) for that fourth and final spot. NSU is the only MEAC team that does not compete on Thursday during the last day of the regular season for the league, meaning the Spartans will have either eight or nine full days in between games.
The Spartans have also continued their streak of finishing no worse than tied for third each of the last six years now, the only program in the league to do so. NSU has now finished fourth or better in the MEAC in 10 of the last 11 seasons.
• Posted 6th double-double in last 7 games with 16 points and 11 rebounds against Howard
• Averaging 10.9 rebounds last 7 games and 20.7 points last 13 games
• Has made 50-of-61 from the free throw line last 7 games, including career-best 12-of-14 at South Carolina State
• Has scored in double figures in all 29 games
• Averaging 7.9 rebounds in MEAC play
• Ranks 4th in the nation in largest increase in points per game from last year (+13.7) behind Hofstra’s Justin Wright-Foreman (+16.4), Northeastern’s T.J. Williams (+14.8) and Hawai’i’s Noah Allen (+14.4)
• Ranks 2nd in the MEAC in scoring (19.6), 3rd in defensive rebounds (5.2), 4th in rebounding (6.8), 7th in field goal percentage (48.4), and 3-point field goal percentage (39.7), 8th in minutes (34.4) and 14th in free throw percentage (74.9)
• Ranks 47th in the nation in points per game (19.6), No. 109 in double-doubles (7), No. 116 in minutes (34:22), No. 142 in field goal percentage (48.4), No. 156 in defensive rebounds (5.24) and No. 209 in rebounds (6.8)
• Stands No. 582 in NCAA Division I career records in points (763)
• Ranks 3rd in NSU Division I records in free throws made (143), 4th in free throw attempts (191), 5th in scoring average (19.6), 6th in 3-point field goal percentage (39.7), 7th in points (569), 10th in field goals made (186), 11th in field goal attempts (384) and 13th in 3-point field goals (54)
• Ranks 9th all-time at NSU in 3-point field goal percentage (38.0), 13th in free throw percentage (77.1) and 20th in 3-point field goals (73)
• Averaging 17.4 points and 2.9 steals last 7 games
• Averaging 14.9 points, 3.6 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 2.0 steals in MEAC games
• Has played at least 36 minutes in 12 of the last 14 games, including all 40 minutes in four contests as well as a career-high 49 at Florida A&M
• Has tallied 12 or more points in 13 of the last 16 games
• Ranks 1st in the MEAC in assist-turnover ratio (3.0) and steals (1.6), 4th in minutes (35.0), 5th in assists (4.4) and 15th in free throw percentage (74.7) and scoring (13.0)
• Ranks 20th in the nation in assist-turnover ratio (2.95), No. 74 in minutes (35:02), No. 102 in assists (4.4) and No. 106 in steals (1.64)
• Stands No. 168 in NCAA Division I career records with 261 assists and No. 758 in points (661)
• Ranks 4th in NSU Division I records in assist average (4.43), 5th in assists (124) and 14th in 3-point field goal attempts (149)
• Ranks 16th all-time at NSU in assists (261) and 3-point field goal attempts (266) and 18th in 3-point field goals (88)
• Averaging 7.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in MEAC games
• Ranks 1st in the MEAC in blocks (1.9), 5th in rebounding (6.8), 7th in defensive rebounds (4.7) and 8th in offensive rebounds (2.1)
• Ranks 48th in the nation in blocks (1.92) and No. 221 in rebounds (6.8)
• Stands 22nd in NCAA Division I career records with 156 total blocks, 34th with a 1.71 blocks-per-game average, No. 204 in rebounds (491) and No. 1,071 in points (519)
• Ranks 9th in NSU Division I records in blocks (46) and 15th in rebound average (6.8)
• Ranks 3rd all-time at NSU in blocks (156)
• Averaging 8.7 points on 11-of-17 shooting with 2.0 blocks the last 3 games
• Ranks 3rd in the MEAC in blocks (1.4), 12th in defensive rebounds (4.0) and 15th in rebounding (5.5)
• Ranks No. 114 in the nation in blocks (1.39)
• Stands No. 1,477 in NCAA Division I career records in points (382)
• Ranks 11th in NSU Division I records in blocks (39)
• Ranks 14th all-time at NSU in blocks (74)
• Averaging 4.8 points on 22-of-38 shooting last 10 games and 4.7 rebounds last 6 games
• Ranks 10th in the MEAC (1.0) and No. 229 in the nation in blocks (1.04)
• Posted 7th double-digit scoring game of the season with 13 vs. Howard
• Sat out 14 games from Jan. 4-Feb. 20 due to injury
• Averaging 4.0 points last 5 games and 4.7 rebounds last 3
NSU needs one more win to guarantee its sixth straight non-losing season. Prior to the start of that streak in 2011-12, NSU had a winning record just twice in 14 seasons since moving to Division I in 1997.
Clean the Glass
The Spartans are +4.9 on the glass in conference games. The Spartans own a 3-10 record this year when getting outrebounded but are 12-4 when ahead or tied in the rebound column. NSU also ranks 32nd in the nation in defensive rebounds per game (27.55) and 81st in total rebounds per game (37.69).
The Spartans rank first in the MEAC in blocks (5.4), with the next highest team being Hampton at 3.7. NSU also ranks second in scoring margin (-1.9), field goal percentage defense (40.9), defensive rebounds (27.6) and defensive rebound percentage (71.0), and third in field goal percentage (42.7), 3-point field goal percentage defense (32.9) and rebound margin (+1.0).
Overall, the Spartans are averaging 73.7 points per game and shooting 44.2 percent overall against MEAC foes this year. The one area where NSU has struggled is at the 3-point line, where the Spartans have made just 31.9 percent against conference foes.
Play Some ‘D’
On the other side, NSU has limited the opposition to 37.2 percent shooting, including 28.6 percent from deep, during conference play. The Spartans also have an 91-58 edge in blocks.
Overall on the year, the Spartans rank 45th in the nation in field goal percentage defense (40.9) and 81st in 3-point field goal percentage defense (32.9).
NSU has had more blocks than the other team in 13 of the last 16 games and 19 of the last 24. On the year, NSU ranks 16th in the nation in blocks per game at 5.4 and 15th with 158 total blocks.
The top five seasons in NSU history in terms of total blocks have all come within the last six years, as the program has averaged 163.3 blocks per season during that time.
NSU’s current 5.4 blocks-per-game clip stands second all-time in program history behind the 5.7 average in 2010-11.
Good from Deep
NSU has 193 3-pointers this season, the third-most in the program’s history.
So far this season, the opposition has scored the same amount or more points in the second half than the first period in 20 of NSU’s 29 games. The Spartans, meanwhile, are scoring on average 6.1 more points in the second stanza than the first period.
The Spartans are shooting 44.9 percent overall in the second half, compared to 40.4 in the first. They are also connecting on 38.9 from long range in the second but just 28.4 percent in the first.
Don’t Turn it Over
On the year, Norfolk State is getting outscored 15.9-12.1 in points off turnovers. NSU has had more turnovers than the other team in 12 of the last 17 games. The Spartans had 27 giveaways at Savannah State, marking the most by a Spartan team since having 34 against Elizabeth City State on Nov. 30, 2011. NSU is coming off a game against Howard in which it forced a season-high 22 turnovers.
NSU’s turnover margin this year is -2.2, a number that falls to -2.7 in conference games.
On the year, the Spartans have a -2.2 turnover margin in the first half, a number that improves to +0.0 in second periods. They also have 91 total steals on the year in second halves compared to 55 in first periods.
So far this year, the opposition’s bench is outscoring NSU’s, 22.4-18.0. The Spartans, however, have gotten 22.9 points per game from their bench over the last eight games, including a season-high 38 at Savannah State.
Originally published at nsuspartans.com