Dover, Del. (Jan. 8, 2018) --- Delaware State was frustrated in the final seven-and-a-half minutes of a 76-66 loss to North Carolina A&T in a MEAC men’s basketball contest in Memorial Hall Monday evening. The Hornets were outscored 18-8 down the stretch en route to their 12th straight defeat and third loss in three league games this season. DSU is 2-16 overall this season. The Aggies won their conference opener to improve to 8-8.
The loss overshadowed a stellar performance by DSU senior Artem Tavakalyan, who led all players with a career-best 23 points, also the high for a Hornet this season. Tavakalyan was 8-for-11 from the field, including 5-of-6 from three-point range in the contest. His previous career high was 20 points vs. East Carolina this season.
Delaware State trailed 40-32 at the half, but rallied to tie the game at 49 on a lay-up by Demola Onifade with 13:51 left to play. The Hornets held their only second half lead, 51-49, when Joe Lewis hit two free throws with 12:59 remaining.
The game was tied for the fourth and final time, 56-56, when DSU’s Kavon Waller nailed a three-point shot at the 8:24 mark of the second half.
North Carolina A&T answered with a 6-0 run, and opened up a 62-56 lead on a jumper by Denzel Keyes with 5:54 left to play.
After the Hornets pulled to within 62-59 on Waller’s second three-pointer of the game, the Aggies scored 10 of the next 12 points to stretch their lead. Aaren Edmead capped off the NCA&T run with a basket and free throw to give his team a 72-61 lead with 1:45 remaining.
The first half of play was highlighted by a series of runs for each team.
North Carolina A&T scored the first eight points of the game. Delaware State answered with a 13-point run to open up a 13-8 lead. The Aggies responded by scoring the next 11 points to build a six-point first half lead.
NCA&T led by as much as 10 points in the first half before settling for the eight-point advantage at the break.
Five players scored in double-figures for the Aggies. Keyes came off the bench to lead the way with 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field.
Devonte Boykins added 16 points (5-9 FGs; 4-7 3pt. FGs), while Edmead tallied 13 points and a game-high seven assists for the visitors.
Tavakalyan was the only Delaware State player to score in double-figures.
Waller and Lewis added eight points each, while Pinky Wiley had seven points and a team-high six assists.
Delaware State was outrebounded 28-25 and also plagued by 19 turnovers.
One game after hitting just one-of-17 three-point shots (Jan. 6 vs. South Carolina State), the Hornets were 10-for-18 from beyond the arc Monday evening.
The 10 threes and .556 three-point percentage in the game were also season highs for the Hornets.
Delaware State begins a two-game MEAC road swing at Hampton on Fri. (Jan. 12). The Hornets will also visit Florida A&M on Jan. 15 before returning home to face Bethune-Cookman on Jan. 20.