NORFOLK, Va. — Patrick Cole had 18 points and eight rebounds as North Carolina Central beat Norfolk State 67-59 Saturday in the MEAC tournament final at Norfolk Scope Arena in Norfolk, Va.The Eagles took control in the second half with a 17-0 run and are headed to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in program history and first since 2014. A dunk by Kyle Benton capped the run and gave North Carolina Central a 62-46 lead with 3:50 to play.Norfolk State went nearly 11 minutes in the second half without scoring.Dajuan Graf added 17 points and Rashauan Madison had 12 for North Carolina Central (25-8).Zaynah Robinson led Norfolk State with 18 points and Kerwin Okoro added 12 points for the Spartans (17-16), who led 38-35 at halftime.The Eagles of coach Lavelle Moton are the second team from North Carolina to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Last Monday, UNC Wilmington earned its spot in the bracket by winning the Colonial Athletic Association championship.
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