Durham, N.C. (Jan 10, 2017) ---Delaware State took another step forward on its goal to get off to a fast start in the 2016-17 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference race. The Hornets improved to 2-0 in the MEAC for the first time since the 2010-11 season with a 69-68 nail-biting win over North Carolina Central at McDougald-McLendon Gym today.
The Eagles fired off two shots and had a tip-in attempt on the game’s final possession, but failed to score before time expired.
Dana Raysor came off the bench to lead the Hornets with 15 points to match his season high. His performance was highlighted by 8-of-11 shooting at the free throw line.
DSU’s Kavon Waller added 12 points, hitting four-of-eight shots from the field, including 3-for-5 from three-point territory. Devin Morgan contributed 11 points and four assists to the win.
Delaware State led for nearly 34 minutes of the game, but had to hold off a late N.C. Central rally to post its second straight win and third in a row over the Eagles.
The Hornets led by as many as eight points in the first half, but settled for a 34-33 lead at the break.
DSU never trailed in the second half.
After North Carolina Central pulled to within 53-51 on a lay-up by Rashaun Madison, Joe Lewis and Raysor sandwiched another Eagle basket with three-point field goals to give DSU a 59-53 lead with 5:19 left to play.
The Hornets were up by seven points on three occasions down the stretch, the last time when Raysor hit two free throws for a 69-62 lead with 1:06 remaining in the game.
North Carolina Central answered with a three-pointer by Madison to cut DSU’s advantage to 69-65 with 53 ticks left.
Delaware State gave the Eagles life by committing a turnover and missing two free throws on its next two possessions.
NCCU took advantage when Dajuan Graf nailed a three-ball to trim the Hornets’ lead to 69-68 with 31 seconds remaining.
Another Delaware State turnover, with 28 seconds left, set up N.C. Central’s furious attempt to win the game on the final possession.
Madison led four NCCU players in double-figures with a game-high 22 points, highlighted by six three-pointers. Kyle Benton had a double-double for the Eagles, scoring 14 points and grabbing a game-high 13 rebounds.
Delaware State was 23-for-58 from the field (39.7%) in the game, including a solid 10-of-23 on three point shots (43.5%).
NC Central shot 38.3% for the game, knocking down 23 of its 60 shots from the floor and 9-of-23 from beyond the arc.
Each team was 13-for-20 at the free throw line and committed 17 turnovers.
The Hornets will attempt to go 3-0 in the MEAC for the first time in six seasons when they face two-time defending conference champ Hampton University in their next contest this Saturday (Jan. 14). Game time is set for 4 p.m., following the DSU/Hampton women’s game in Memorial Hall.
Between the games, Delaware State will unveil a banner commemorating former Hornet Kendall Gray’s selection as MEAC Player-of-the-Year and Defensive Player-of-the-Year for the 2014-15 season
… Delaware State soph. center Demola Onifade led the team with eight rebounds, matching his career-high, in the contest.
…Morgan has 15 three-point field goals in the last four games
… The Hornets and Eagles will meet again on Jan. 30 at DSU’s Memorial Hall.