Howard University had no answer for the North Carolina A&T Aggies, falling 78-65 in their Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) matchup at Burr Gymnasium in Washington, D.C. Jan. 15.

Sophomore forward Dadrian Collins scored a team-high 17 points for Howard, while senior guard Kyle Riley and sophomore guard Anton Dickerson added 13 and 12, respectively. But it was not enough to match the inside-outside game of A&T senior center/forward Thomas Coleman and junior guard Marc Hill, who together combined for 37 points.

Collins and Riley were able to pick up the slack for the team’s leading scorer, sophomore forward Mike Phillips, who was held scoreless in the first half and finished with six points due to foul trouble. Riley had his best shooting performance of the season and was also instrumental in setting up Collins and Dickerson.

“When your leading scorer gets two fouls in the first five minutes, it changes your game plan,” said Howard head coach Kevin Nickelberry.  “We asked some guys to step and do things that they were not comfortable doing.”

North Carolina A&T (8-9 overall, 3-1 in the MEAC) relied on Coleman, their leading scorer and rebounder, in the first 20 minutes and he responded with 13 points and 7 rebounds.

Coleman’s effectiveness in the first half forced Howard (2-14 overall, 0-4 in the MEAC) to focus on controlling him in the second half. But North Carolina adjusted, helping Hill find his range and tally 16 points after intermission, including four of six shots from beyond the three-point line. A&T shot 42 percent (10 of 24) from the three-point range for the game. Coleman finished with his 10th double-double of the season, totaling 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Hill led all scorers with 20 points.

“Our plan was to limit the touches of their post players,” Nickelberry said.  “They did a good job of making adjustments.  They were able to get some good looks and they also hurt us with hustle plays.”

NEXT UP: North Carolina A&T will travel to Hampton, Va. to take on the Hampton University Pirates Jan. 17 at 8 p.m. while Howard will host Norfolk State the same day at 9 p.m. in a game that will be televised on ESPNU.

 

Ed Hill Jr.

Special to the AFRO