Seniors Key as Spartans Hand A&T 1st MEAC Loss

By Matt Michalec, Asst. AD/Communications,

 

NORFOLK, Va. – One day after putting a scare into MEAC South Division-leading North Carolina A&T before losing by five points, Norfolk State finished the job. Senior guard Armani Franklin made the most of her Senior Day, scoring a season-high 17 points to lead the Spartans to a 65-54 win Sunday at Echols Hall.

E’Lexus Davis scored 16 points and another senior, Mangela Ngandjui, added 15 for the Spartans (3-7, 2-4 MEAC), who handed the Aggies (10-2, 7-1) their first MEAC defeat.

NSU got off to a torrid start. The Spartans shot 10-of-18 (55.6 percent) from the floor, including 5-of-7 (71 percent) from behind the arc, in the opening quarter. NSU used an 11-0 run, fueled by treys by Franklin, Ngandjui and Davis, to take a 17-6 lead. Ngandjui capped the shooting spree with another trey with 22 seconds left in the quarter to give the Spartans a 25-13 edge after one period.

The Spartans cooled off in the second quarter, hitting just a pair of field goals, and N.C. A&T slowly chipped away. Chanin Scott’s layup 24 seconds before halftime cut NSU’s lead to two, the closest the Aggies had been since early in the first quarter.

But NSU reasserted itself in the third quarter. After Deja Winters hit a 3-pointer to bring the Aggies within 39-37, the Spartans responded with an 8-0 run. Davis made another triple and Franklin converted a traditional three-point play during the spurt, and NSU held the Aggies without a field goal for more than four minutes.

A&T, which outscored NSU 25-14 in the fourth quarter on Saturday, had no such luck coming from behind Sunday. The Spartans held the Aggies to 3-of-11 shooting in the final stanza. A&T managed just a pair of free throws and no field goals in the final 5:12.

For the game, NSU held the Aggies to 33 percent shooting (21-of-63) from the floor and 19 percent accuracy (4-of-21) from long distance.

The smaller Spartans also outrebounded the Aggies for the second day in a row, by a 42-39 margin. Franklin grabbed a career-high eight rebounds, while Shine Strickland-Gills also had eight and Ngandjui snared seven. Strickland-Gills also scored eight points and blocked three shots.

Davis connected on a season-best four 3-pointers and had two steals. Jalynn Holmes had a game-high five assists.

“It was great to see our seniors lead us the way they did the whole weekend,” NSU head coach Larry Vickers said. “Armani and Mango were the difference in the game.”

Scott was the only Aggie in double figures, with 15 points.

NSU’s final regular-season games are makeup games scheduled for March 3-4 at North Carolina Central.

About Willie Alex Hines 704 Articles
A lifelong sports fan and follower of HBCUs, Willie Alexander Hines is an expert on any sport with tremendous recall of history and newsmakers.