EAST GREENSBORO – A slow start proved fatal for the North Carolina A&T Aggies, who fell to Jacksonville, 61-45, inside the Corbett Sports Center on Saturday night. The slow start was due in part to the Aggies shooting 17.2 percent in the first half.
They shot better in the second half but could never dig their way out of a double-digit deficit that accumulated in the first half.
N.C. A&T (2-6) was led by big man Ronald Jackson who finished with eight points and 10 rebounds. It was his third double-figure rebounding game out of the last four contests. Fellow big man Devin Haygood turned in nine points and six rebounds as well.
“We didn’t compete for 40 minutes,” said N.C. A&T coach Jay Joyner. “We just didn’t get the job done tonight. You can’t shoot 30 percent from the field and 15 percent from three and expect to win the game.”
N.C. A&T quickly fell behind 11-1 just before the under-16 timeout. The Aggies' first field goal did not come until the 12:56 mark of the first half, which was a layup by sophomore Webster Filmore. N.C. A&T’s struggles from the field continued throughout the first half. Even their good looks went in and came back out.
The Aggies had five field goal droughts of three minutes or more in the first half with the longest being 6:07 from the 7:10 mark to the 1:03. It was senior Devin Haygood’s dunk that cut the Dolphins (4-6) lead to 28-14 with 1:03 remaining in the first half. Two Dolphin free throws sent the Dolphins into the locker room ahead 30-14.
N.C. A&T shot much better in the second half improving to 40.6 percent from the field. Despite the improved shooting, the Aggies were never able to make a significant dent in Jacksonville’s lead. The closest the Aggies got in the second half was 14 points at 57-43 on an Andre Jackson layup with 3:34 to play.
“I still believe we have good players in the program,” said Joyner. “Everybody has to buy in and compete for 40 minutes.”
The Aggies will complete their two-game home stretch against Longwood on Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m., at Corbett Sports Center.