2023 MEAC Men’s Tournament Semifinals Recap (3-10-23)

By: Joe Dillard Jr

Headline Photo Credit: MEAC

In the MEAC Semifinals, plenty of excitement was just a sample of what the title game should present. In the first game of the day, number 3 seed Norfolk State (22-10) took on number 2 seed North Carolina Central (18-12) where both teams have different styles of play and it would show as Central had 6 players in the box score and all had 8 or more. Central’s Justin Wright and Kris Monroe led the way with 13 points each. However, it would be the hometown heroism of Joe Bryant and his monster 23-point and 10-rebound game coming from a 6’1 guard who is a big game player who thrived in this atmosphere. Going downhill and getting to the line going 15-18 (including 6-6 in OT) while Central went 13-18. Kris Bankston also was both a monster and efficient player as he went 7-9 from the field, 1-1 from three, and 5-6 from the line finishing with 20 points and 8 rebounds. This game needed extra time as Justin Wright hit a game-tying three. In overtime, the Spartans would pull away for a 72 to 65 victory, and will be in a familiar position playing for a third straight MEAC Championship. The Spartans will look to earn a third straight NCAA appearance.

In the Second game of the semifinals, regular season champs Howard Bison (22-12) faced number 4 seed Maryland Eastern Shore and from the very beginning of the game, Howard took care of business. MEAC Rookie of the year Shy Odom led the way in a 74 to 55 win against UMES going 6-8 from the field with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Steve Settle had a great stat line also pouring in 16 points, 4 blocks, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists. Howard is looking to win its first MEAC title since 1992 and will have to do so looking like David vs Goliath even though they are the number one seed, this is NSU territory and they are all familiar with prime time lights.