Baltimore, Md. (Feb. 11, 2017) ---Delaware State forced Morgan State into less than 25% shooting and used a strong second half to highlight a 56-45 MEAC victory over the Bears at Hill Fieldhouse today. The Hornets won their fourth straight, the last three on the road, to improve to 9-18 overall and 6-6 in the MEAC. The win streak is DSU’s longest since winning five in a row during the 2014-15 season.
Devin Morgan led the Hornets with a game high 18 points, including 8-for-8 shooting at the free throw line. Artem Tavakalyan contributed 10 points (2-3 FG; 6-7 FT) and a season-high seven rebounds to the win.
Tiwian Kendley was the only Morgan State player in double-figures with 17 points.
Delaware State trailed 23-18 at the half, but outscored the Bears 38-22 in the final 20 minutes.
Morgan State was 15-for-61 from the field (24.6%) for the game, the low for a Hornet opponent this season. The Bears hit just 7-of-29 shots in the first half (24.1%) and 8-of-32 after the break (25%).
Hornet center Demola Onifade was key to the Hornets’ defensive effort, blocking five shots and pulling down nine rebounds, each a career-high.
“I thought our defensive effort was outstanding all game long,” said Delaware State head coach Keith Walker. “The defense, along with better protection of the ball in the second half and free throw shooting down the stretch were the difference in the game.”
Morgan State outscored the Hornets 8-4 to start the second half, and opened up its biggest lead 31-22 on a put-back by Alex Ennis with 16:03 left to play.
Delaware State answered with a 9-0 run, and tied the game at 31 on a dunk by DeVaughn Mallory at the 13:45 mark of the second half. Morgan scored four points and Kavon Waller nailed a three-pointer during the run.
After Morgan State regained the lead 34-31 on a three-pointer by Tyler Streeter, the Hornets scored eight of the next nine points to pull ahead for good.
DeAndre Haywood started the rally with a jumper and Waller scored the last six, including a free throw to give DSU a 39-35 lead with 9:31 remaining.
The Bears pulled to with 41-39 on a lay-up by Kendley, but Tavakalyan converted a three-point play and Morgan nailed a three-ball from the far right corner to give the Hornets an eight-point advantage.
Delaware State’s lead was cut to 49-45 on a free throw with 1:29 left, but Morgan was perfect on four free throw attempts and Tavakalyan hit 3-of-4 at the line to seal the win.
The Hornets shot 47.4% in the second half (9-for-19) and 40% for the game (16-40). Delaware State was 20-for-25 at the free throw line (80%), while Morgan State hit 9-of-17 at the stripe (52.9).
Delaware State edged out the Bears 39-38 in rebounds.
The Hornets will go for their fifth straight win on Monday (Feb. 13) at Coppin State. Game time is 7:30 p.m. in Baltimore. DSU has won at Coppin State in each of the last two seasons.
… The Hornets are 5-2 in MEAC road games this season
… Waller extended his streak with at least one three-pointer to 19 games
… Morgan has hit 21 of his last 22 free throws to raise his season average to 90.5% (67-for-74)
… The Hornets will close out the regular season with home games against Morgan State (Feb. 20), UMES (Feb. 25) and Howard (Mar. 2)