Huntington, W.V. (Jan. 2, 2013) --- Short-handed Delaware State fought its way to another solid road win, upending Conference USA Marshall 53-51 at the Cam Henderson Center this evening.
The Hornets, in collecting their first victory against a C-USA opponent, snapped a three-game skid to improve to 6-8 this season. Marshall fell to 7-7.
"I'm so proud of the way our guys fought the entire game against a quality opponent on the road," said Delaware State head coach Greg Jackson, who earned his 187th win with the Hornets. "Our patience and defense were keys to the win. We were successful most of the game in controlling the tempo and showing different looks on defense."
Delaware State led 21-17 at the break and was ahead by as many as 12 in the second half.
Casey Walker led three Hornets in double figures with 13 points. His performance included three three-point field goals. Marques Oliver added 12 points and Tyshawn Bell came off the bench to tally 11. Bell also knocked down three three-pointers.
Casey Walker (left) had a team-high 13 for the Hornets at Marshall
The Hornets opened up their biggest lead of the game, 31-19, on a lay-up by Miles Bowman (four points) with 15:56 left to play.
Walker gave DSU a 38-30 lead on a three-pointer with 10:03 remaining before Marshall began to claw its way back into the game.
The Herd's Nigel Spikes capped off an 11-3 run with a dunk to tie the game at 41-41 with 3:48 left. Marshall took its first of the game, 43-41, on two free throws by Elijah Pittman (17 points) at the 3:02 mark of the second half.
The Hornets regained the lead, 44-43, when Bell nailed his third three-pointer of the game on the ensuing possession.
After Marshall pulled ahead again, 45-44, on a lay-up by Kelvin Amayo, little-used freshman guard Chris Lewis hit two free throws to put the Hornets ahead by one with 1:51 left.
Marshall's Amayo sank one of two free throws with 1:45 remaining to tie the game at 46-46.
On the next possession, Delaware State's Jabari Joyner hit a three-point shot from the right corner with 58 seconds left to put the Hornets ahead for good, 49-46. Joyner came off the bench to score a season-high five points/
After Pittman hit two foul shots to pull the Herd to within one, Joyner sank two free throws with 23 ticks remaining to give DSU a 51-48 lead.
Marshall failed to pull with a point again when Amayo missed one of two free throws with 18 seconds left. Lewis (six points) gave the Hornets a two-possession lead, 53-49, on two free throws with 16 seconds remaining.
"Jabari (Joyner) and Chris (Lewis) really stepped up in crunch time for us," said Jackson. "It's great to see guys take advantage of their opportunities. Brandon Oliver (making his second start of the season) also played a key role for us, especially on defense."
(left - Brandon Oliver)
Marshall's first half total (17) was the lowest by a Hornet opponent this season. The Herd was 7-for-23 from the field (30.4%) and committed nine turnovers in the first 20 minutes.
Delaware State played without leading scorer Tahj Tate (coach's decision) and three other regulars. Starting point guard A.J. Thomas sat out the game due to a wrist injury, while starting center Kendall Gray and reserve guard Amere May also did not compete.
The Hornets were 19-for-49 from the field (38.8%), including seven-of-17 from three-point territory (41.2%). DSU was 8-for-11 at the free throw line.
Marshall tied its season low with 17 field goals (17-for-47; 36.2%). The Herd was 4-of-17 from three-point range and 13-for-23 at the line. Marshall was also forced into 17 turnovers.
The Hornets return to action on Saturday (Jan. 5) at Arkansas. Following the Arkansas contest, DSU will be off until Jan. 19 at UMES.