NCCU's offense is hindered by Virginia's strong defense and fast beginning.

NCCU’s offense is hindered by Virginia’s strong defense and fast beginning.

The strong beginning of the University of Virginia and their highly ranked defense posed a challenge for the men’s basketball team at North Carolina Central University, as UVA emerged victorious with a score of 77-47 on Tuesday.

Due to injuries, the starting lineup for the second game in a row was altered by head coach LeVelle Moton. NCCU seniors Terrence Crawford and sophomore Josh Smith were given the opportunity to start their first ever game.

At the beginning of the game, the Eagles’ Josh Smith scored the first points after Virginia quickly took a 6-0 lead. UVA’s Isaac McKneely also had a strong start, scoring four consecutive three-pointers. Despite this, the Eagles fought back with six layups from sophomore Perry Smith Jr. and a powerful dunk from junior Keishon Porter, which decreased the Cavaliers’ lead from 12-4 to 16-10.

Following back-and-forth scoring, Virginia went on a 12-0 streak. Eventually, Porter made two free throws and King had a fast break dunk, earning four points for NC Central before the final media timeout of the first half.

NCCU’s King scored a dunk that was the last points of the first half, with the Eagles behind 41-17. Perry Smith had six points and four rebounds, and Josh Smith had five points and two assists in the first 20 minutes.

Cobey Harraway, Perry Smith, and Porter, all members of the junior team, worked together to earn the initial nine points for the Eagles in the second period. This led to Virginia’s lead expanding to a total of 30 points. In the final 20 minutes of the game, Guy Fauntleroy contributed all 11 of his points.

The second half saw the Eagles scoring a total of 30 points, while Virginia only managed to score 36. Despite NCCU having more second chance points (8-6), they were able to win the battle for assists with a score of 24-8. They also made a total of nine three-pointers, seven of which were in the first half. Perry Smith was the leading scorer for North Carolina Central with 12 points and six rebounds.

NC Central will face off against a different university in Virginia when they visit Radford University on Saturday, December 9th. The match is set to begin at 4:30 p.m.