by Mike Potter
McDOUGALD-McLENDON GYM/DURHAM N.C. Central gets a break from the Division I wars tonight, and it would be a good idea for the Eagles to take advantage of it.
LeVelle Moton's club will be a strong favorite against Tennessee Temple of the National Christian College Athletic Association in the nightcap of the first night of the BC Powder Classic.
In the first game of the night, CIAA member Chowan blasts Newport News Apprentice 83-58.
In the second, the Eagles take care of business with a 75-50 win over the Crusaders.
Unfortunately, the winners won't face off Saturday night.
The Eagles get off to a slow start, falling behind 18-14 before a 10-0 run gives them the lead for good. The run includes old-fashioned three-point plays from C.J. Wilkerson, Dami Sapara and Dijon Manns.
It's 37-25 at halftime behind 16 points from Wilkerson.
The visitors cut it to 39-34 on Uros Kmandinic, but the Eagles again respond with a 10-0 run. NCCU's biggest lead of the night is the final score.
Wilkerson leads the Eagles with 23 points while Nick Chasten has 15 points and 10 rebounds and Vincent Davis 13 points and 10 rebounds for his first career double-double.
Ed Pellot-Rosa leads the visitors with 12 points while Vic Taylor added 11.
The Eagles shoot 48.1 percent to 27.3 for TTU and win the rebound battle 47-31, while committing 27 turnovers to the visitors' 21.
Chowan (9-4) gets 25 points from Jaleel Nelson, 14 from Lando Morrison and 10 from East Chapel Hill alumnus Charles Rhodes.
Isaih Harrison leads Apprentice with 14 points and 14 rebounds, while Andre Henderson adds 14 points and Tim Johnson 10.
They said it ...
NCCU coach LeVelle Moton: "Winning is like having a winning lottery ticket. It was good that the kids got an opportunity to feel good about themselves. Fortunately we got some positive results tonight. C.J. is our Batman, but sometimes he wants to be Robin. When he commands the basketball, it's really good for us. ... We're not always the most talented team out there, but we're getting great crowds at home. They know the record, but they appreciate what the guys are doing. They could turn their backs on the team, but that's not what Eagles do."
Wilkerson: "We came out and found ways to play down, but after we picked it up we started playing much better. We were aggressive and attacking the basket. When we make the other team play our way we get good things. Coach wants me to come out and be aggressive and get some easy buckets. When you do that, it gets everybody on the team some confidence."
Chasten: "I felt pretty good. I was able to contribute on both ends of the floor. They had some size, but we were a lot more athletic in the post area and we were able to get some easy baskets."
Davis: "My first career double-double feels pretty good. I think we might have come out thinking we were supposed to win and got a slow start. They ended up going up and then we had a reality check.
What does it all mean?
That the 3-15 Eagles need to get one more win to match the victory total of each of the past two seasons.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Wilkerson's 3-pointer from the left corner that makes it 35-25 with 2:07 left in the half.
NCCU leads 1-0.
NCCU: Won 1.
TTU: Lost 2.
Chowan vs. Tennessee Temple, Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
NCCU vs. Apprentice, Saturday, 8 p.m.