“HORNETS” (2-13; 0-0 MEAC)
vs. N.C. Central “Eagles” (6-8; 0-0 MEAC)
Wed., Jan. 3, 2018 - 7:30 p.m. ET
Dover, Del. (Memorial Hall - 1,500)
Live Video: DSUHornets.com
Delaware State begins 2017-18 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play against defending conference champ North Carolina Central. The Hornets bring a nine-game losing streak into the contest. DSU closed out 2017 with a 105-52 loss to Penn at the Palestra in Philadelphia on Dec. 27. Penn shot better than 61 percent from the field in the contest. The Quakers were 35-for-57 from the field, including 14-of-27 on three-point shots (51.9%), to post a season-high point total. Fifteen of the 16 players who competed for the Quakers scored in the contest. Jonathan Walker was the only Delaware State player in double figures with 10 points. Penn’s point total was also the most by a Hornet opponent this season. Among the players who have competed in a majority of this season’s games, center Simon Okolue (sr.) is the DSU leader in scoring (10.4 ppg) and rebounding (6.4 pg). Okolue also has team highs in double-figure scoring games (8) and double-doubles (3). Swingman Artem Tavakalyan (sr.) averages 10.0 points per game and is second on the Hornets in rebounding (4.9 pg) and tied for second in three-point field goals (17). Freshman point guard Pinky Wiley is the team assist leader with 31 and is tied with Tavakalyan for second on the squad with 17 three-pointers. Forward Kavon Waller (sr.), a Preseason All-MEAC Third Team selection, has 11 three-pointers in the last four games to take over the team lead with 20. Delaware State has played its last nine games without sophomore guard Kobe Gantz, who was leading the team in scoring (13.5 ppg), assists and steals when he went down with a season-ending knee injury in the game-six win over Georgian Court on Nov. 25.
North Carolina Central has won its last two games, topping McNeese State 77-71 and St. Andrew’s 75-55, in its final tune-ups before MEAC play. In the McNeese State game, Brandon Goldsmith led all players with 19 points, while Raasean Davis posted a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds, Davis also tied for the team high with 16 points in the win over St. Andrews. For the season, Davis is the team leader in scoring (15.6 ppg) and rebounding (7.9 pg). Reginald Gardner, Jr. is second on the Eagles in scoring at 11.5 points per game and has a team-high 31 three-point field goals. NCCU’s Jordan Perkins is fourth in the MEAC in assists at 4.4 per game (62 total). The Eagles are No. 1 in the MEAC with a .486 team shooting percentage,
HORNETS vs. EAGLES SERIES HISTORY (NCCU leads 20-16)
This is the first of two scheduled meetings between the Hornets and Eagles this season. The teams split two games last season, with each winning on the road. Delaware State won the first 2016-17 meeting 69-68 in Durham, N.C. The Eagles avenged the loss with an 82-74 victory at Delaware State later in the season. The teams are scheduled to battle again on Feb. 3, 2018 at North Carolina Central.