by Mike Potter
McLENDON-McDOUGALD GYM/DURHAM N.C. Central returns for a rare early-season home game in men's basketball.
And it's one of those guarantee games against a lower-division foe, spending some of the money the Eagles (1-7) have made by playing on the road against teams from the ACC and the Big Ten.
The opponent is Carver Bible College (0-12), an historically black Christian school from Atlanta which has yet to win a game this season.
Tonight is part of Trailblazers Weekend, in which the university is honoring some of its athletic pioneers as part of its Centennial Celebration, and there may be a four-digit crowd in the house.
The Cougars have one local player in sophomore guard Cory Evans, who played at Durham's Northern High. It takes quite a while for the Eagles to get comfortable, but they finally make a big run down the stretch and win 82-63.
NCCU is up 42-40 at halftime, but that lead comes anything but easily as the Eagles shoot just 34.9 percent in the first half to the visitors' 50.
Carver leads by as many as 15 points, at 29-14 on an Evans 3-pointer at 10:24, before the Eagles go on a run to take the lead at the break.
The Eagles' largest lead is 21 points, at 78-57 on a pair of Dami Sapara free throws with 4:20 to go.
NCCU places six players in double figures, led by Nick Chasten (pictured) with 15 points and 13 rebounds and Sapara with 11 and 11 off the bench. Michael Glasker also has 15 points on five 3-pointers, while Vincent Davis adds 14, C.J. Wilkerson 12 and T.J. Granger 11.
Evans leads all scorers with 24 points for the Cougars, while Joshua Caston adds 12 points and 10 rebounds and Marcus Fulks with 13 points.
The Eagles shoot just 41.2 percent to 43.9 for Carver, but win the rebound battle 46-39 and force 22 turnovers to 12 of their own.
They said it ...
NCCU coach LeVelle Moton: "A win is a win, and right now it's about us developing our confidence. We need to see some success. After the first 10 minutes we decided to guard somebody. ... We've got to come out ready to play all the time, and that's the sign of a mature team. This team is immature right now and we've got to get them to grow up and grow up fast. That's the only way this transition is going to work. You've got to go out and take care of business."
Chasten: "I felt great. We started out kind of slow and sluggish, but we came together and we fought back. We've just got to pick it up and play hard for 40 minutes. We can't take anybody for granted. When it's time to play, it's time to play. We've got to bring effort every day in every game."
Glasker: "I do like to see the zone. It gives me opportunities to get good looks at the basket. My teammates got me some good shots. But I want to give a lot of credit to that second five that came in. We were down and they brought us back into the game and gave us some momentum going into the end of the first half and into the second half. I feel like it's tough to get motivated in these situations. But Carver Bible is a good team, and early in the game we took them for granted."
What does it all mean?
That the Eagles are undefeated at home in their two games against non-Division I teams.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Chasten's breakaway slam with 8:52 left to put the Eagles up 65-55.
NCCU leads 1-0.
NCCU: Won 1.
CBC: Lost 13.
Carver Bible at Montevallo, Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.
NCCU vs. Florida Gulf Coast, Dec. 16, 7 p.m.