Dover, Del. (Jan. 3, 2018) --- The Delaware State men’s basketball team went toe-to-toe with defending MEAC champ North Carolina Central, but came up short, 65-62, in the league opener for both teams in Memorial Hall Wednesday evening.
The Hornets had the last shot in the game, but a hurried three-point attempt by Kavon Waller was off-target as time expired.
Delaware State trailed 34-30 at the half, and fell behind 54-46 after a three-point play by NCCU’s Alton Jones with 9:55 left to play.
The Hornets answered by scoring 10 of the next 11 points and held their only second half lead, 56-55, when Waller hit two free throws at the 4:35 mark of the second half.
North Carolina Central answered with a 5-0 run, and pulled ahead 60-56 when Raasean Davis hit one of two foul shots with 2:57 remaining in the game.
The Eagles hit five-of-six free throws in the last minute to hold onto the lead.
Artem Tavakalyan led three Delaware State players in double figures with a game-high 15 points, highlighted by 8-of-9 shooting at the free throw line.
Waller added 13 points (3-6 3pt. FG) and Pinky Wiley tallied 10 points and led all players with four assists in the game.
Jones (6-6 FT) came off the bench to tie Reggie Gardner, Jr. with 13 points each to lead NC Central. Davis and Jordan Perkins added 10 points each for the Eagles.
Delaware State had its second-best shooting percentage of the season in the game, hitting 20-of-41 shots from the floor (48.8%), including 7-of-17 from three-point territory (41.2%).
North Carolina Central shot 51.3% from the floor (20-for-39) and 52.9% on three-point attempts (9-for-17) in the contest.
The Eagles won the rebound battle 25-22.
The loss was Delaware State’s 10th in a row. The Hornets are now 2-14 overall (0-1 MEAC) this season.
NC Central won its third game in a row to improve to 7-8 this season (1-0 MEAC).
DSU will also play its next two games at home, hosting South Carolina State on Saturday (Jan. 6 @ 4 p.m.) and North Carolina A&T on Monday (Jan. 8 @ 7:30 p.m.).