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Solid guard play leads Aggies to first-ever Big South win


Freshman forward Marcus Watson is fouled on a drive. Watson finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds in the Aggies’ win over Presbyterian College. Photo by Joe Daniels/Carolina Peacemaker[/caption]

The North Carolina A&T men’s basketball team entered the Big South Conference the same way they exited the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference – winning at home – besting the Presbyterian College Blue Hose, 65-57, inside Corbett Sports Center.

The Aggies (6-9, 1-0 Big South) accomplished two things they have previously struggled with this year – they made more free throws and grabbed more rebounds than their opponent. A&T shot 20-for-29 (.690) from the line while Presbyterian (8-8, 0-1 Big South) went 14-for-21 (.667) and out-rebounded the Blue Hose, 42-41.

After Watson hit two free throws to send the Aggies into the locker tied with the Blue Hose at 29, the Aggies took their biggest lead of the game 47-39 with 10 minutes remaining in the game. PC cut the lead to four, 55-51, with 2:41 to play. A minute later, as the shot clock ticked toward zero, Horton drove the lane, nearly lost the basketball, but made a strong enough move to draw a foul from Trevon Reddish-Rhone.

Horton capitalized by making one of two free throws to put A&T ahead by five. With just under a minute remaining, Watson added another free throw to give the Aggies a six-point advantage. Watson then made a play on the defensive end. He swatted Brandon Younger’s layup, leading to two more Horton free throws to all but seal the game with 49 seconds remaining.

A&T went 10-for-14 (.714) from the line over the game’s final two minutes.

The Aggies have now won 28 home conference games dating back to Feb. 27, 2017, thanks to a win in their first-ever Big South Conference game.

“We had to protect home court,” said A&T coach Will Jones. “It means something to us, and the guys who played tonight laid it on the line. We’re 1-0 in the Big South, short-handed; we showed some character tonight. It was a big win for us.”