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MEAC Monday: A look at the opening weekend and the emergence of RJ Cole

Howard has itself a stud freshman

NCAA Basketball: Howard at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the first Monday of the season and it’s time you learned something:

Mondays around here are MEAC Mondays.

Overall, the conference played 20 games Friday through Sunday, mostly on the road. While the league did not rack up many wins, there was plenty to be pleased with for several teams.

Friday

Two of the marquee games early were the NC Central Eagles going to visit UIC and the Howard Bison facing George Washington. The Eagles continued to show why they have success with their stingy defense. However, the lack of offensive execution and 22 turnovers caused NCCU to drop their season opener in a tough place to get a win.

Howard is showing that it will be a competitive bunch, going toe-to-toe with George Washington before falling by nine. Much of the Bison’s success was due to sophomore Charles Williams and freshman RJ Cole. Cole gave George Washington all it could handle with 23 points and six assists. As expected, Williams was productive, dropping 21.

Elsewhere, North Carolina A&T AggiesFemi Olujobi exploded for a double-double with 34 points and 10 rebounds in a victory over Greensboro College.

Wisconsin 85, South Carolina State 50

George Washington 85, Howard 76

Auburn 102, Norfolk State 74

Oregon 70, Coppin State 54

North Carolina A&T 104, Greensboro 80

Maryland Eastern Shore 95, Valley Forge 60

Grand Canyon 67, Florida A&M 51

Bethune-Cookman 108, Johnson University (FL) 66

UIC 65, North Carolina Central 55

Rider 90, Hampton 75

Delaware State 71, Cairn 50

Binghamton 76, Morgan State 59

Saturday

It was a slow day for the league on Saturday and a late wait for MEAC action. The Florida A&M Rattlers were downed by UNLV to cap off day two of the hoops season. The Rattlers are now off to an 0-2 start.

UNLV 108, Florida A&M 66

Sunday

Hampton got its first win of the season, pouring 85 on Bluefield College after trailing at the half, 35-33. It was Akim Mitchell and Jermaine Marrow heading the second half charge, and both scored 18 points.

Howard almost sent Bloomington into another frenzy, but came up short. Cole’s stock is rising, and he lit the Hoosiers up for 27-and-eight, but Indiana had too much in the paint. The Bison got as close as eight in a game that has to build their confidence headed to Gonzaga on Tuesday.

Maryland Eastern Shore fell to in-state foe Maryland, but the Hawks are currently playing without three starters. Once this group gets to full strength, it will be intriguing to see how they develop. The talent is there.

Boston College 91, South Carolina State 52

Maryland 96, Maryland Eastern Shore 43

Clemson 87, North Carolina A&T 63

Indiana 86, Howard 77

East Carolina 76, Coppin State 50

Hampton 85, Bluefield College 68