NCAA News Wire

North Carolina Central 76, Norfolk State 70

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With the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference regular-season title already locked up, North Carolina Central University capped a magical regular season Thursday with a 76-70 win against the conference’s No. 3 team, Norfolk State.

Guard Jeremy Ingram led the way for NCCU (25-5 overall, 15-1 in MEAC) with 19 points as the Eagles set a program record with their 17th win in a row since suffering a lone conference loss to FAMU on Jan. 11. They now head to the MEAC tournament as the No. 1 seed and look to finish out their season with another a ticket to the NCAA Tournament.

This is the second straight season NCCU has finished conference play 15-1, and the Eagles had help Thursday from guard Jordan Parks with 14 points, while guard Emanuel Chapman chipped in 13 points, six rebounds and four assists, and guard Alfonzo Houston added 10 points.

Norfolk State, which wrapped up its regular season 17-13 overall and 11-5 in conference play, got a huge game from guard Malcolm Hawkins, who led all scorers with 31 points, six rebounds and five assists. Hawkins had 15 points at halftime after going 4-of-4 from the 3-point line.

But the Spartans’ senior leading scorer didn’t get much help as the usually high-powered offense of Norfolk State had just one other double-figure scorer in guard Pendarvis Williams with 13 points, five rebounds and three assists.

Norfolk State outrebounded NCCU 36-24, had more blocks at 7-2 and shot better from beyond the arc — 63 percent for the Spartans compared to 41 percent by the Eagles — but 15 turnovers killed Norfolk State.

North Carolina Central finished with just five turnovers.

It was the first meeting since 2011 between the MEAC powers, but it was just the Eagles’ ninth win in the series, which the Spartans still lead, 27-9.

Both teams next head to the MEAC tournament, which begins Monday in Norfolk, Va.