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Ticket Punched: North Carolina Central wins MEAC tournament to clinch school's first NCAA tournament berth

Sam Cooper
The Dagger
NCAA Basketball: MEAC Conference Tournament-North Carolina Central vs Morgan State
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Mar 15, 2014; Norfolk, VA, USA; North Carolina Central Eagles guard Jeremy Ingram (14) \tb\ against Morgan State Bears forward Shaquille Duncan (44) in the championship game of the MEAC Conference college basketball tournament at the Norfolk Scope Arena. (Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports)

Senior guard Jeremy Ingram, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference player of the year, scored 29 points to lead North Carolina Central to its first NCAA tournament berth in school history in a 71-62 win over Morgan State.

Junior forward Karamo Jawara, a native of Norway, registered 10 points, six rebounds and three assists for the Eagles. Senior guard Alfonzo Houston hit 7-of-8 free throw attempts and added nine points in the win, the team’s 20th in a row.

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The 6-foot-3 Ingram averaged 20.3 points per game for the 28-5 Eagles, good for 19th best in the country coming into Saturday’s conference title game. N.C. Central was the No. 1 seed in the MEAC tournament and had knocked off Howard by 46 in the quarterfinals and Norfolk State by 23 in the semifinals on Friday.

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Ian Chiles (26 points) did all he could to keep the third-seeded Bears close, but N.C. Central hit 25 of 30 second half free throws to hold the Bears off.

This was just the third season at the Division I level for NC Central, a former power at the Division II level. The Eagles joined the MEAC in 2011 and had never advanced past the tournament quarterfinals prior to 2014.

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