Postseason prospects

N.C. Central playing the waiting game

csmith@newsobserver.comMarch 15, 2013 

All the Eagles can do is sit back and wait for a call that might not come.

After finishing the regular season 22-8 with a nearly flawless 15-1 record in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, N.C. Central fell to N.C. A&T 55-42 in its first game of the league tournament Wednesday.

“It’s tough to take defeat when you know you didn’t play your best,” coach LeVelle Moton said. “We led the league in shooting percentage, points scored and free-throw percentage. (Wednesday) night, we were awful in every phase.

“It was just mentally draining – that’s the best way to describe it.”

Junior guard Jeremy Ingram had one of his worst performances of the season, going 3-for-17 from the field, including a 0-for-7 first half.

Moton said he will not remember Ingram’s performance against N.C. A&T, but rather his stellar junior season as a whole.

“Jeremy is entitled to a bad game shooting because he’s carried us all season,” Moton said. “I think eight consecutive games of 20 points or more is amazing for any basketball player. He just didn’t make them (Wednesday) night.”

After the tough loss, the Eagles have no hope of making the NCAA tournament with an at-large bid, so the only chance at continuing their season would either be in the National Invitation Tournament or CBI tournament.

Junior forward Stanton Kidd is trying to enjoy what’s left of his spring break after the loss, but said he wants to receive a call from either of the tournaments.

“We haven’t spoken about making another tournament yet,” he said. “Any other tournament wise, we’re just going to wait like any other team and hope we get a call and get the chance to play in another tournament.”

While Kidd hasn’t heard anything from his coaches or teammates, Moton seemed a little more sure of the team’s hopes of making it to a postseason tournament.

“We’re waiting to see what happens,” he said. “A couple of people have been in discussions with our athletic department. I haven’t really sat down and seen what’s going on with this yet, but early next week we should know if and when we will play in a tournament.”

While the team doesn’t know whether it will receive a call, the 2012-13 season was a revelation for the Eagles either way.

After moving from the CIAA last season to the MEAC, the Eagles won their first 10 games in the conference and shot to No. 1 in the rankings before dropping the first conference game to Savannah State on Feb. 16.

Before the loss Wednesday night, that was the only conference loss the Eagles suffered all season.

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