Eagles Handle B-CU 75-66
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Bethune-Cookman rallied from an early 10-point deficit to take the halftime lead, but North Carolina Central pulled away to a 75-66 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference victory Monday night.
Ray Willis scored 26 points and Stanton Kidd 23 as the Eagles (10-7 overall, 3-0 MEAC) shot 61 percent from the field in the second half as they pulled away from a 40-40 tie.
Bethune-Cookman (6-12,1-2) closed to 47-44 on an Adrien Coleman three-pointer with 7:52 remaining, but the Eagles scored next five points to trigger an 14-3 run that made it 61-47 on two Willis free throws with 4:39 left.
The Wildcats got as close as 68-62 on a Brandon Stewart three-pointer with 52 seconds remaining, but the Eagles made their final six free throws to preserve the lead.
In the first half, B-CU fell behind 14-4, but rallied to take a 27-26 lead on a Kevin Dukes three-pointer with 3:04 remaining. Three Ricky Johnson free throws helped the Wildcats take a 32-28 halftime lead.
After the Eagles scored the first seven points of the second half to take the lead, Bethune-Cookman managed a 40-40 tie on an Alex Smith dunk with 13:40 to go, but went scoreless the next five minutes.
Coleman led the Wildcats with 18 points, while Javoris Bryant added 10 points and seven rebounds. Smith had nine points, six rebounds and four blocks while Johnson had seven points, six rebounds and five assists.
B-CU travels to South Carolina State Saturday.
HEAD COACH GRAVELLE CRAIG
"They shot layups and we were struggling to score. That catches up to you. They came out in the second half and said, 'We're going to drive the ball and get it inside,' and we didn't offer any resistence."
"When we don't shoot well from the outside, we have to score in transition. And they shot 54 percent, so we weren't able to get out and run.''
"We don't need to make excuses, we just need to make adjustments. It's all about getting ready for three games in March."
"I believe they out-toughed us in the post. They took us out of what we want to do."
NOTES: B-CU is winless (0-11) in games it doesn't score 70 points ... Bryant was 6-6 from the line for the second time in three games ... B-CU has outshot opponents from the line the past four games ...Johnson's five assists were a season-high and his six rebounds matched his season best ... The Eagles have now won the last three regular season meetings ... In attendance: former Boston Celtic great and Pro Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinee Sam Jones, an NCCU alumnus.