Eagles fans turn out for NCCU sendoff
Posted March 19
Durham, N.C. — School spirit at North Carolina Central University was enough to outshine the gloomy weather Wednesday in Durham. Dozens of students and alumni turned out in team colors, with posters and big heads in hand, to send off their team as they travel to the NCAA Tournament.
Fans believe NCCU’s spot into the tournament is well-earned.
“Words can’t describe it,” said freshman Mychell Reid. “They’ve been practicing and working hard, so they deserve it.”
The small, historically black university beat Morgan State University 71-62 Saturday, winning the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and capping a 20-game winning streak.
It’ll be the first time NCCU will play in the tournament as a Division I school. The No. 14 seeded team will face off against No. 3 Iowa State Friday (9:50 p.m. on TNT and 620 AM The Buzz), but supporters said they are hoping for an upset.
“I think they’ll make it all the way,” said student Kebreeya Lewis. “I am ready for them to win.”
Freshman Jalen Dozier even has the Eagles making it all the way to the Final Four in his bracket.
Martha Tilley graduated from NCCU in 1971 and regularly attends games. She said the feeling of seeing her alma mater in the national event is “indescribable.”
“It’s an honor to be part of this celebration and to have them come this far,” she said. “It’s been a long time coming, but we knew that it would come because we know that the Eagles are great.”
Senior point guard Emmanuel Chapman said the unyielding support from fans like these makes the drive to win even stronger.
“To have all our fans out here and the support, it’s amazing. So you want to bring back something they’re proud of,” he said. “Win, lose or draw ... this university and program is a family so they’re going to have our back regardless.”