Elizabeth City State basketball fans will come into the R.L. Vaughan Center for today’s games with Virginia Union secure in the knowledge that their men’s and women’s teams sit alone atop the Northern Division of the CIAA.
And that both are on winning streaks.
The Lady Vikings (16-3 overall, 3-0 division) will bring a six-game win streak into the 3:30 p.m. matchup with Virginia Union (8-10, 2-1) while the Vikings (12-7, 3-0) are riding a three-game string of success into the 7 p.m. game with the Panthers (5-11, 2-1).
If ECSU followers like what they see in the men’s game, they’ll get a chance to relive it at 1:30 a.m. Thursday — at least those who have satellite TV. The game will be shown on tape-delay on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network on DirecTV and Dish.
Vikings coach Shawn Walker said he’s not concerned about his players being distracted by the TV cameras, even though it’s the first time they’ve been on the tube this season.
“The game will be played on a floor 94 by 50,” he said. “Most gyms we play in have media timeoutss, so we’ve been stopping every four minutes. That means we’re not going to have much of a problem adjusting to the tempo.
“Also, six or seven of these guys have been in two championship games (that have been on TV). They’re used to it.
“We’re looking forward to coming out and playing a good Virginia Union team, staying focused and trying to build on what we are doing in the Northern Division.”
ECSU is coming off one of its best offensive games of the season. In Saturday’s 88-68 defeat of Virginia State, the Vikings shot 65 percent from 3-point range and 61,5 percent from the floor. Five players scored in double figures and the team registered 20 assists.
And it all happened with Angelo Sharpless, the third-leading scorer in the CIAA, scoring just 10 points — 12 below his average.
Walker is hoping to see a continuation of the way the team, which had been up-and-down prior to its current win streak, played against Virginia State.
“When we make shots the way we did tonight, it makes us almost impossible to guard because you have to play Angelo one-on-one,” Walker said after the game. “We really executed the offense. We did make some threes, but we also got the ball in some areas that hurt them. A lot of the threes we got on penetration drives and pitching it back out.”
Even though women’s coach Alico Dunk thinks his team has yet to play its best game, what the Lady Vikings has been doing has been pretty good all season.
ECSU is third in the CIAA in scoring (69.9), field goal percentage (43.2) and defense (55.4) and second in assists (13.9) and has six players averaging more than 7.3 points a game, led by Shatara Jackson (12.9) and Stephanie Harper (11.8).