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Hundreds greet NC Central as Eagles head to tournament

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Hundreds of fans came out on a cold, damp day to wish the North CarolinaCentral Eagles the best on Wednesday as they departed for San Antonio and aspot in the NCAA Tournament.

"To have our fans out here, to have this support, it's amazing,"said point guard Emanuel Chapman. "It's tremendous."

The Eagles play Iowa State, the No. 3 seed in the East Region, on Fridaynight at the AT&T Center in San Antonio. N.C. Central will play right afterUNC plays Providence in another East Region game.

The two winners play on Sunday.

While being in the NCAA Tournament is common for UNC, it's a first-timeexperience for the Eagles.

N.C. Central moved up divisions, from the CIAA to the MEAC, and won theconference tournament this year to grab the league's guaranteed spot in theNCAA Tournament. It's the first time the Eagles have made the Division I field.

"I want themto remember what has gotten them to this point," Coach LeVellel Moton saidWednesday. "Life is about embracing who you are. We are not a team that isgoing to try to outscore you. We are not a sexy team where everyone loves thethree-point basketball.

"We're agrimy type team."

Iowa State is 26-7 and won the Big 12 Tournament.

But Central has had a dream season, beating N.C. State in the regular seasonand sweeping the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference's regular season andtournament titles.

N.C. Central has won 20 straight games and the Eagles' 28-5 record tiesfor a school record for wins. NCCU won the 1989 Division II national title witha 28-4 record and also went 28-5 in 1951.

Guard Jeremy Ingram, a senior, leads the team with 20.6 points per game.

N.C. Central has played some top teams this season, losing to Wichita Stateby 11, for example.

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Melanie Sanders

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