by Mike Potter
McDOUGALD-McLENDON GYM/DURHAM N.C. Central goes for its second straight win tonight, taking underdog Newport News Apprentice School in the finale of the BC Powder Classic.
Apprentice, a member of the U.S. Collegiate Athletic Association, comes in having played just one game in school history against a Division I opponent. The Builders lost 112-96 at Virginia Military early in the 2007-08 season.
The first game of the second night's doubleheader goes pretty much as expected, with CIAA member Chowan taking out Tennessee Temple 71-54 to complete an unbeaten weekend.
NCCU wins the nightcap 86-65 to improve to 4-15, tying last season's win total.
All four wins are against opponents below the Division I level, and that well is now empty for this season.
The nightcap starts out on an odd note, as Apprentice's Eric Joe hits a pair of free throws to make it 2-0.
But the Eagles score the next seven points, and then stretch the lead to 14-4 on a C.J. Wilkerson dunk with 15:11 left in the half.
Apprentice scores nine straight to cut it to 14-13 on an inside move from Joe at 12:07, but the Eagles respond with a 10-0 run and the margin is never less than seven points thereafter.
C.J. Wilkerson leads NCCU with a career-best 30 points, followed by Vincent Davis with 18 points and Dijon Manns with 12. Michael Glasker has a career-best 15 assists for the Eagles.
Eric Joe leads Apprentice with 18 points, followed by Isaih Harrison with 17 points and 18 rebounds. Tevin Andrews adds 12 points and Andre Henderson 11.
NCCU shoots 54.1 percent to 32.1 for the visitors, but loses the rebound battle 39-34. The Eagles commit 18 turnovers to 14 for Apprentice.
In the opener, Mark Brown gets 22 points to lead the Hawks while Lando Morrison gets a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Jaleel Nelson adds 15 points.
Vic Taylor's 14 points lead Tennessee Temple.
Wilkerson is the Classic's MVP, joined on the squad by Davis, Morrison, Nelson and Harrison.
They said it ...
NCCU coach LeVelle Moton: "The guys are feeling wonderful about themselves. It's a joy for them to feel something positive. The fans are coming out and making it an electric atmosphere, and when that happens it helps produce some positive results. We shot very well, and that's a tribute to Michael Glasker and knowing the value of a good shot, a high percentage or a higher percentage than we've been getting. He certainly stepped up and valued the basketball. He's the quarterback. C.J. still has a ways to go, but he's getting out in transition and showing his athleticism. Now he's starting to woo people who didn't know he's as athletic as he is."
Wilkerson: "I didn't know I was going to get 30. We were just running the floor like Coach has been trying to get us to do all year. We've gotten to see a lot of good teams run up and down the floor and we were able to do it pretty well tonight. I've been playing with more confidence. Coach was a two-guard when he played, so he's really been able to help me a lot with how to do things right."
Davis: "I feel like I'm in a pretty good rhythm. I had a couple bad games, so I had to get back in rhythm some kind of way. At home is the best place to do it. I definitely think these games have helped us a lot. Winning helps us feel better about ourselves and get more confidence."
What does it all mean?
That the Eagles definitely know how to win home games against smaller schools.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Wilkerson's dunk that makes it 14-4.
NCCU leads 1-0.
NCCU: Won 2.
Apprentice: Lost 2.
NCCU at Virginia Tech, Monday, 8 p.m.
Apprentice vs. Southern Virginia, Tuesday, 6 p.m.