CHICAGO – North Carolina A&T overcame a 14-point deficit to defeat Arkansas State 55-50 in the consolation game of the DePaul Maggie Dixon Classic on Saturday. A day after nearly upsetting nationally-ranked Miami, the Aggies refused to let another one escape.
“We didn’t want to end this tournament with a loss after letting yesterday’s game slip away at the end,” said N.C. A&T coach Tarrell Robinson. “I’m proud that our young women buckled down in the second half to get us the victory. Our defense is what ignited our run to start the second quarter.”
N.C. A&T found itself down by as many 14 points in the second quarter but kept chipping away at the Arkansas State lead, eventually putting together an 18-0 run.
Arkansas State led 30-16 with 4:49 remaining in the second quarter. Arkansas State failed to connect on another field goal the rest of the half. The Aggies ignited their spurt with a 3-pointer from senior C’Coriea Foy. After two Arkansas State free throws, the Aggies scored the next six points thanks in part to four points by senior Alexus Lessears to go into the half down 32-25.
Arkansas State held to a 37-31 lead with 5:04 remaining in the third quarter. It was all Aggies after that. N.C. A&T went on a 14-0 run aided by five points from sophomore Kennedy Boyd and four points from Le’on Hill to take a 45-37 advantage at the end of the third quarter.
The run continued into the fourth as Foy scored on back-to-back baskets to give the Aggies a 49-37 advantage with 8:45 to play. The Red Wolves ended the Aggies 18-0 run by scoring the next four points to cut their deficit to eight.
Two free throws from Red Wolves guard Morgan Wallace eventually cut the Aggies lead to 53-47. But Aggies guard Jasmen Walton got into the lane and scored with 1:32 to play to put the Red Wolves away.
Foy led the team with a game-high 17 points and added six rebounds and four assists. Hill and Lessears added 10 points apiece and Hill added 10 rebounds for a double-double. Lessears added seven rebounds.
In the first half, Hill scored on a layup to tie the game at 13 with 53 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Arkansas State scored the final four points of the quarter to take a 17-13 lead before starting the second quarter scoring the first 10 points to take a 27-13 lead with 6:53 remaining in the first half. A Foy 3-pointer ended the run, but the Red Wolves hit a 3-pointer to put the lead back at 14, 30-16.
Arkansas State was led by Morgan Wallace with 16 points and with seven rebounds.
The Aggies finish their three-game road swing with a trip to Morehead State Tuesday at 6 p.m. in Morehead, Ky.