Dover, Del. (Mar. 1, 2018) --- Delaware State led by 19 points midway through the second half before holding off a late Morgan State rally in an 87-80 MEAC men’s basketball victory over the Bears in the regular season finale for both teams in Memorial Hall Thursday evening.
The Hornets, who dropped their first 12 MEAC contests, won for the second time in the last four games to close out their 2017-18 conference schedule with a 2-14 record (4-27 overall).
Morgan State wrapped up the regular season with a 7-9 conference record and 11-18 overall mark.
Delaware State center Simon Okolue (sr.) led all players with a career-high 24 points, highlighted by 11-for-14 shooting from the field.
Fellow senior Artem Tavakalyan added 22 points on 6-for-9 shooting, including 5-of-9 on three-point attempts. The five three-pointers matched his career high. He also knocked down five threes vs. North Carolina A&T on Jan. 8.
Jonathan Mitchell (so.) came off the bench to contribute 12 points (5-7 FGs) to the win for the Hornets.
Martez Cameron and Tiwain Kendley led five Morgan State double-figure scorers with 16 points each.
Delaware State’s Saleick Edwards nailed a three-point shot at the first half buzzer to give the Hornets a 37-34 lead at the break.
DSU led 38-37 before taking control of the game.
The Hornets outscored the Bears 22-4 over the next six minutes, and opened up a 60-41 lead on a three-pointer by Tavakalyan with13:15 left to play. Okolue (4-4 FG) and Tavakalyan (3-3 3ptFG) scored nine points each, while Morgan State was 2-for-9 from the field and committed three turnovers during the Delaware State run.
Morgan State trailed 65-45 before chipping away at the DSU lead.
The Bears outscored the Hornets 29-14 during the next 10 minutes and pulled to within 78-74 on a lay-up by Stanley Davis with 1:56 remaining in the game.
A lay-up by Jonathan Walker gave DSU an 80-74 lead and the Hornets hit 5-of-6 free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
Delaware State shot 55.4% from the field in the contest (31-for-56), tying their second-best mark of the season. The Hornets also knocked down 8 of their 17 three-point shots in the game (47.1%).
DSU hit 16 of its 26 shots from the floor in the second half (61.5%).
The Hornets will next see action on Monday Mar. 5 in the MEAC Tournament at the Scope Arena in Norfolk, Va.