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MEAC Monday: NC Central tops the power rankings

Bethune-Cookman and Howard stumble, while NC Central picks up a major win.

NCAA Basketball: Coppin State at Houston Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Monday, and it’s time for conference play in the MEAC. There’s just been one game played so far but some interesting results are worth noting. Some conference favorites fell as other teams picked up major wins during the first day of conference play.

It’s MEAC Monday! Here are some updates for the week:


Power Rankings

1. North Carolina Central (6-9, 1-0 MEAC)

2. Norfolk State (6-10, 1-0 MEAC)

3. Howard (6-9, 0-1 MEAC)

4. Bethune-Cookman (5-10, 0-1 MEAC)

5. Morgan State (6-8, 1-0 MEAC)

6. North Carolina A&T State (5-9, 1-0 MEAC)

7. Florida A&M (4-12, 0-1 MEAC)

8. Delaware State (3-11, 0-1 MEAC)

9. South Carolina State (2-15, 0-1 MEAC)

10. Coppin State (1-15, 1-0 MEAC)

11. Savannah State (3-12, 0-1 MEAC)

12. Maryland Eastern Shore (2-14, 0-1 MEAC)

There’s some shuffling in the power rankings this week. I had Morgan State and Howard rather high for most of the season so far, but this is no longer the case. Morgan State took a mean loss to Lincoln (PA) from the CIAA conference. The SWAC and MEAC are very familiar with the D2 CIAA conference, so the loss isn’t as bad but hey, a loss to a D2 school is a loss. Howard took a drop after coming up short against Florida A&M. Bethune-Cookman also dropped due to their loss to NC Central.

NC Central is on top due to beating the conference favorite and looking rather strong by doing so. Norfolk State jumps to the second spot due to their consistency thus far — they’re a dark horse team for sure.

What’s New?

It’s not new but NC Central’s dominance was on full display against Bethune-Cookman.

The Eagles had four players in double figures and just seemed to overwhelm the Wildcats. Raasean Davis led the charge with 16 points and 11 rebounds for Central. Due to injuries, the Wildcats played somewhat underhanded with only three players coming off the bench. This will be interesting as the season goes on.

Elsewhere, Norfolk State had an offensive explosion against Delaware State. Derrik Jamerson Jr. made five three-pointers, Alex Long tallied a double-double, Nic Thomas made four three-pointers, and Steven Whitley was close to a double-double as well. Picking up an impressive win, the Spartans showed their depth.

But despite their loss, the Hornets proved that they have two strong scorers as well. Johquin Wiley and Kevin Larkin combined for 48 points. Wiley’s 28 points were a career high.

Talking about career highs, RJ Cole and Charles Williams seem to break their career stats every game, but the Rattlers of Florida A&M were not having it. They picked up a major win on the road against Howard.

What’s interesting about this is that five Howard players combined for six shot attempts while four other players scored all of Howard’s points. Charles Williams scored 25 points, RJ Cole and Chad Lott both had 19 points. Zion Cousins rounded out the scoring with nine points for the Bison.

Meanwhile, for the Rattlers, everyone on their team scored and chipped in to pick up the win. Justin Ravenel scored 20 points for FAMU. Their ability to spread the ball around will be key down the stretch.

The closest game of the weekend was an overtime classic between North Carolina A&T and South Carolina State. MEAC scoring leader Damani Applewhite missed a three at the end of overtime to tie the game. He scored 16 points but was not the most important player for the Bulldogs during the contest. Lavar Harewood had 22 major points during the game. Milik Gantz became ice cold, scoring six of his 17 points in overtime. Terry Harris and his clutch free throws to extend their lead to three in the overtime period.

Morgan State’s second-half surge pushed them over Maryland-Eastern Shore. Stanley Davis led all scored with 15 points. Mailk Miller added 14 points as well.

And let’s talk about Morgan’s basketball rival shall we? Coppin State ended its 21-game losing streak this weekend. Their 73-67 victory over Savannah State was hard fought and earned towards the end with a with Brendan Medley-Bacon jumper and four free throws by Dejaun Clayton in the final seconds.

Player of the Week: Derrik Jamerson Jr — Norfolk State

Jamerson had an efficient game vs Delaware State. He scored 21 points and most of those points came from the three-point line. His hot shooting led to a breakout game as he scored a season-high for himself during the contest. The great play was an impressive glimpse of NSU’s depth of talent.

Games to Watch (all times EST)

Monday, January 7th

Savannah State vs. Morgan State, 7:30 p.m.
Howard University vs. Maryland Eastern Shore, 7:30 p.m.
Florida A&M vs. Norfolk State, 8 p.m.

Saturday, January 12th

Bethune-Cookman vs. Howard University, 4 p.m.
North Carolina A&T State vs. Delaware State, 4 p.m.
Norfolk State vs. Coppin State, 4 p.m.