NCCU wins MEAC tournament for second straight season

For the second straight year, the Eagles won the MEAC Conference Tournament, earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, by defeating the Pirates, 71-63. N.C. Central forced the Pirates to miss their last three shots from the field in the final three minutes and 28 seconds after the game was tied at 58. The Eagles outscored the Pirates 11-2 down the stretch. N.C. Central closed the game out at the foul line, pulling off once of the biggest upsets in tournament history.

The Eagles, who came into the tournament as the No. 6 seed, did not back down from the top-seeded Pirates, who were playing in their final MEAC tournament.

There was eight lead changes in the first half, and the Eagles led by as many as five. N.C. Central started the game looking rattled, turning the ball over on their first two possessions. But the turnover bug spread to the Pirates, who turned the ball over on three straight possessions, which led to six straight points for NCCU.

Eagles big man Raasean Davis had five of the first seven points for NCCU, but headed to the bench with two fouls midway through the first. His running mate, Pablo Rivas, picked up the slack, scoring four in a row with Davis on the bench, giving the Eagles a 25-22 lead. The Pirates last two baskets of the half would come from a pair of long 3s from Kalin Fisher and Malique Trent-Street, giving the Pirates a one-point, 29-27, lead at the break.

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