Norfolk State men’s hoops is inching closer to ending a six-year title drought

NORFOLK, Va. (NSUSpartans.com) - A share of the regular season title is in reach on Saturday when the Norfolk State men's basketball team travels to Baltimore to take on Morgan State. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. at the Talmadge Hill Field House.

Norfolk State men's basketball

The Spartans sit 11-1 in the MEAC, two games ahead of North Carolina A&T at 9-3. An NSU win coupled with an A&T loss against South Carolina State would give the Spartans at least a share of the regular season title with three games still remaining. A win would also guarantee NSU a non-losing record for the seventh time in the past eight years.

Beyond A&T, North Carolina Central and Florida A&M (8-5) and Savannah State (7-5) sit 3-4-5 in the standings. NCCU hosts Savannah State on Saturday.

Media Coverage
The game against Morgan State will be broadcast live on Hot 91.1 FM with Ross Gordon on the call. Live audio is available through hot91.nsu.edu:8000/128.

The audio feed is also available through www.TuneIn.com or the TuneIn Radio App (search for "WNSB").

The game will also be shown live on Morgan State's website. Fans can also follow along with the live stats.

Series History
NSU leads the all-time series with Morgan State by a 36-15 margin, including 21-12 since the Spartans moved to Division I. The Bears, however, have won three of the last five meetings, all on their home court. NSU's last win at Morgan State came on Feb. 8, 2014 (64-53).

Scouting Morgan State
The Bears, off since Feb. 11, stand just 3-8 in the MEAC and 8-16 overall, having lost their last four games all by six points or less. In fact, seven of their eight conference losses have been by four points or less, and two of their three wins have been by six points or less.

Although the Bears score 72 points per game, they shoot just 40 percent overall and 32.5 percent from deep. They do, however, connect on 72 percent from the free throw line. The opposition makes 46 percent overall and 36 percent from deep while scoring 77 per contest. Morgan State does get beat on the glass (-3.5 rebounding margin), but they do a good job of turning opponents over (17.2 time per game, +3.3 turnover margin).

Stanley Davis leads the way with 12.7 points and 6.5 rebounds, both tops on the team. Sherwyn Devonish adds 10.8 points, and Kyson Rawls contributes 8.5 points. The trio combines to hit 84 percent from the free throw line. David Syfaxand Martez Cameron each average 7.5 points per game as well.

Last Time Out
NSU took control almost nearly from the start, and the Spartans cruised to a 76-58 win over North Carolina A&T last Monday at Joseph Echols Hall. NSU held the Aggies to just 32 percent shooting, way under their usual 46 percent shooting clip. The Spartans connected on 48 percent themselves (31-of-65).

Alex Long totaled 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting with seven rebounds, and Steven Whitley contributed 15 points, a career-high 11 assists and eight rebounds while making 7-of-14 field goal attempts. Nic Thomas added 12 points to the winning effort.

NSU led by double digits for nearly 29 minutes in the game, and by as much as 21 late in the contest. The Aggies got 14 point efforts from Kameron Langley and Amari Hamilton. Langley also added six rebounds and five assists. Ronald Jackson totaled 10 points and six boards as well.

MEAC Rankings
The Spartans sit 1st in the MEAC in blocks (4.4), 2nd in scoring margin (+4.3), field goal percentage defense (41.3), 3-point field goal percentage (37.7) and 3-point field goals (7.9), and 3rd in scoring defense (69.6), turnover margin (+1.22), defensive rebounds (26.1) and defensive rebound percentage (71.5).

In MEAC games only, NSU ranks 1st in scoring offense (76.8), scoring margin (+9.3) and 3-point field goal percentage (41.5), 2nd in field goal percentage (45.7), defensive rebound percentage (72.4) and 3-point field goals (8.8), and 3rd in free throw percentage (74.6) and rebounding margin (+1.9).

National Rankings
On a national level, Norfolk State ranks No. 32 in turnovers forced (15.85), No. 44 in 3-point field goal percentage (37.7), No. 54 in blocks (4.4), No. 62 in field goal percentage defense (41.3), No. 108 in defensive rebounds (26.07), No. 115 in scoring margin (+4.3), No. 118 in turnover margin (+1.1), No. 118 in won-lost percentage (59.3), No. 136 in free throw percentage (71.8), and No. 137 in scoring defense (69.6).

Conference Standings
The Spartans are guaranteed to finish fourth or better this season, the 12th time in the last 13 seasons they will have done so. They did it each of the last 7 straight seasons as well. Only 15 other teams in Division I have a longer streak than NSU of finishing in the top 4 of their respective conference standings (see table page 7).

Winning Record
NSU had six straight non-losing seasons from 2011-17. Prior to the start of that streak, NSU had a .500 or better overall record just twice in 14 seasons since moving to Division I in 1997.

Ahead at the Half
The Spartans are 114-25 (82.0 winning percentage) since the start of the 2011-12 season when leading or tied at the half, including 12-1 this year.

Player Facts
Derrik Jamerson Jr.
• Ranks 1st in the MEAC in 3-point field goal % (51.7), 3rd in 3-point field goals per game (2.7), 8th in field goal % (51.3) and 16th in scoring (11.3)
• In MEAC games only, ranks 1st in 3-point field goal % (61.1), 2nd in 3-point field goals (3.7) and free throw % (92.9), 4th in field goal % (57.6) and 8th in scoring (15.3)
• Stands 1st in the nation in 3-point field goal % (51.7) and No. 75 in 3-point field goals per game (2.74)
• Averaging 15.3 points last 12 games on 57-of-99 shooting, 44-of-72 from deep, and 26-of-28 from the free throw line
• Made career-high tying 7-of-7 from the 3-point line against North Carolina Central; 1 off school record of 8 and 20th career game with at least 4 treys; Became 1st NSU player ever to make at have at least 5 makes without a miss
• Had 23 points and career-best 2 blocks against N.C. Central in career-high 43 minutes; 7th career 20-point game

Nic Thomas
• Ranks 4th in the MEAC in 3-point field goals per game (2.5), 7th in 3-point field goal % (38.7) and free throw % (80.9), and 9th in scoring (14.4)
• In MEAC games only, ranks 4th in 3-point field goals (2.7) and free throw % (87.5), and 9th in scoring (15.3) and 3-point field goal % (41.5)
• Stands No. 88 in the nation in 3-point field goal % (38.7), No. 118 in 3-point field goals per game (2.52) and No. 137 in free throw % (80.9)
• Averaging 17.4 points on 32-of-75 shooting, 20-of-46 from deep, and 38-of-40 from the free throw line last 7 games played

Steven Whitley
• Ranks 8th in the MEAC in assists (4.0), 9th in steals (1.3), 11th in defensive rebounds (4.3) and assist-turnover ratio (1.3) and 26th in scoring (9.5)
• In MEAC games only, ranks 5th in assists (5.3), 8th in assist-turnover ratio (1.7), 10th in defensive rebounds (5.0), 14th in steals (1.2), 15th in rebounding (5.8) and 30th in scoring (10.3)
• Stands No. 159 in the nation in assists (4.0)
• Averaging 12.8 points and 8.3 rebounds last 4 games and 7.2 assists last 6 games
• Finished with career-high 11 assists against North Carolina A&T

Jordan Butler
• Ranks 1st in the MEAC in blocks (2.0), 8th in rebounds (6.5), 9th in free throw % (79.5) and defensive rebounds (4.6) and 13th in offensive rebounds (1.8)
• In MEAC games only, ranks 3rd in blocks (2.0), 7th in free throw % (83.9) and defensive rebounds (5.5), 8th in rebounds (7.4) and 14th in offensive rebounds (1.9)
• Stands No. 50 in the nation in blocks (1.96), No. 168 in free throw % (79.5)
• Averaging 7.5 rebounds and shooting 26-of-31 from the free throw line the last 12 games played

Alex Long
• Ranks 9th in the MEAC in field goal % (49.0) and 12th in blocks (0.8)
• In MEAC games only, ranks 11th in field goal % (48.9)
• Needs 16 more points to reach 1,000 for his career
• Averaging 13.5 points on 11-of-21 shooting last 2 games

Mastadi Pitt
• Ranks 13th in the MEAC in 3-point field goal % (33.8) and 15th in assists (2.5)

C.J. Kelly
• Averaging 9.7 points and 3.7 rebounds last 3 games played on 10-of-17 shooting, 3-of-7 from deep
• Tied career high with 2 3-pointers and 5 rebounds against N.C. Central to go along with 19 points; 4th career 10-point game
• Named MEAC Rookie of the Week on Feb. 19 and Dec. 26

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