Norfolk, Va. (Mar. 5, 2018) --- Davaris McGowens hit two free throws with 2.3 seconds left in overtime to give No. 4 North Carolina A&T a 62-61 victory over 13th-seeded Delaware State in a MEAC Tournament opening round game at the Scope Arena Monday. The nail-biting loss ends the Hornets’ 2017-18 season, while the Aggies advance to the tournament quarterfinals on Thursday.
Delaware State had the ball and a 61-60 lead when Kavon Waller missed a three-point attempt as the shot clock was expiring with 10 seconds left in the overtime.
NCA&T’s Denzel Keyes grabbed the rebound and threw a full court pass to McGowens, who was fouled by Waller on the play. After McGowens sank the two free throws to give the Aggies a one-point lead, Delaware State failed to get off a shot on its final possession to end the game.
The loss overshadowed a brilliant performance by Hornet center Simon Okolue, who scored a game-high 20 points on 10-for-12 shooting from the field in his final collegiate game.
Waller was the only other Delaware State player to score in double-figures with 11 points, highlighted by three three-point field goals, while Artem Tavakalyan led the Hornets with 11 rebounds.
The contest featured 16 lead changes and eight ties.
Delaware State had the early advantage, using a 17-2 run to open up a double-digit lead. Jonathan Walker capped off the rally with a three-pointer to give the Hornets a 21-8 lead with 9:20 left in the first half.
Delaware State hit 6-of-8 shots from the field, including a three-pointer, and was perfect on four free throw attempts, while the Aggies missed four of five shots and committed two turnovers during the Hornet rally.
North Carolina A&T answered with a 19-5 run and took a 27-26 lead on a lay-up by Keyes with 1:48 to go before halftime.
Delaware State’s Saleick Edwards had a steal and dunk just before the first half buzzer to give the Hornets a 30-29 lead at the break.
North Carolina A&T opened up a 50-44 advantage on a three-pointer by Femi Olujobi with 10:24 left to play.
The Hornets regained the lead 53-53 on a three-pointer by Waller at the 4:44 mark of the second half.
The score was 57-57 at the end of regulation.
Olujobi led North Carolina A&T with 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field, while McGowens added 14 points for the Aggies.
The Hornets have dropped three straight MEAC Tournament opening round contests since reaching the championship game in 2015.