– by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief
NORFOLK, Va. — There was almost a sense of déjà vu settling in at the Norfolk Scope on Wednesday evening as the top seed on the men’s side was up against it, staring at the realization of a championship season going up in smoke during its first game of the conference tournament. However, this time around, the hometown Norfolk State Spartans will see to live another day.
Day 3 of the 2019 MEAC Basketball Championship saw the No. 1 seeds in each tournament take the floor, though one of the teams had a much easier time of it than the other on Wednesday. In the opener, the undefeated NC A&T women’s team continued its domination in league play, taking out North Carolina Central 79-49.
Norfolk State, the men’s No. 1 seed, had a devil of a time against No. 9 South Carolina State, 8-25 coming into today’s contest. Six years ago, an undefeated Norfolk State team, one year removed from its upset win over Missouri in the NCAA Tournament, was expected to go back-to-back and win the MEAC Tourney in 2013 only to be shocked by Bethune-Cookman in the quarterfinals. (We remember that game vividly because the founder of this website was doing the play-by-play of that game on MEACSports.com.) Tonight, the Spartans overcame an 11-point second-half deficit against the pesky Bulldogs to win 78-73, taking the lead for good when Nic Thomas drained a three-pointer with 25.7 seconds remaining in the game to break a 73-all tie. Thomas ended the game with 30 points.
This year marks only the second time the Spartan men have been the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament, with the other occurring when it was shocked in the quarters 2013. Lightning did not strike twice tonight, but was the scare a sign of things to come or a rough patch on their way to a title?
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Monday and Tuesday’s action, with all photos taken by DC-Area photographer Yusuf Abdullah. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are currently 27 pictures in total.