College Notebook: Struggling Hornets visit Morgan in MEAC opener

There is no longer a zero in the win column for the Delaware State University men’s basketball team.

Next up for the Hornets is opening up MidEastern Athletic Conference play with a victory.

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Keith Walker

Fresh off their first win of the season, DelState travels to Morgan State (2-12) today for a 4:30 p.m. tip in its MEAC opener. The Hornets (1-13) are still searching for their first win over a Division I opponent.

Delaware State beat Division II Summit on Monday 93-44 — the 49-point margin of victory was the largest by the Hornets since the 2013-14 season.

Fifteen players saw action on Monday, typical of coach Keith Walker’s expansive rotation during the nonconference season. But Walker has said he will cut down the rotation as MEAC play picks up.

“I’ve got to see what all these guys can do,” Walker said. “You’ve got to give the young players the experience. We’ve got some very good freshmen.
But I said before the season inexperience is going to hurt us, but you have to play these young guys so they can get experience. I think the young players have been getting much better.”

Four of the five starters against Summit were players in their first year with the program. The only one with Division I college experience that was in the lineup was junior DeAndre Haywood who is the Hornets’ leading scorer with 9.8 points per game.

Morgan State has won three of the last four meetings against the Hornets.

Hen men struggling

The Delaware men’s basketball team (5-9) limps into tonight’s home game with UNC-Wilmington mired in a six-game losing streak.

Several of the losses weren’t unexpected. That includes setbacks at Boston College and No. 17 Villanova along with losses at Hofstra, the preseason Colonial Athletic Association favorite, and at Northeastern, last year’s CAA champion.

Still, the Blue Hens’ first-half performance lately has been particularly rough. In its last five games, Delaware has trailed by an average of 15.6 points at halftime.

“We can’t keep getting off to slow starts and digging ourselves deep holes,” coach Monté Ross said after a 88-56 loss at Northeastern on Thursday.
“I thought we got some good looks early, but we just didn’t capitalize on them. Our guys kept playing hard, but we weren’t nearly good enough tonight. We can’t dwell on this and let it affect us with the quick turnaround on Saturday.”

To make matters worse, the Hens have now lost reserve forward Skye Johnson for at least a month after the sophomore took an elbow to the face against Hofstra last week. Originally diagnosed with a concussion, Johnson was found to have a hairline fracture that required surgery, too.

That leaves the Hens with just seven healthy recruited scholarship players again.

Notes

• Former Polytech High offensive lineman John Pierce, Jr. has committed to Alabama State. The Hornets are a member of the NCAA Division I FCS SWAC.
Pierce spent the fall at Fork Union Military after finishing his football career with the Panthers in 2014.

• A pair of downstate athletes were on the field for Lebaanon Valley (Pa.) College this fall.

Caesar Rodney High grad Ryan Peugh was a member of the Flying Dutchmen men’s soccer team that went 8-10 while Milford High’s Charles Galante was a member of Lebanon Valley’s 5-5 football squad.

• Wesley College quarterback Joe Callahan picked up another impressive honor when he was named the winner of the Maxwell Football Club’s 15th annual Brian Westbrook Tri-State Player of the Year award. Callahan will be honored on March 11 at the 78th Maxwell Club National Awards Gala at the Tropicana Casino Resort in Atlantic City, N.J.

• After falling to Mary Washington, 68-67, on a last-second shot Wednesday night, the Wesley College men’s basketball team (3-9) has now lost four games by two points or less.

• Dover High grad Trip Thurman, who just finished his career as an offensive lineman at Florida, has signed with NA3Sports as he pursues a pro football career.

• Smyrna High grad Brionna Johnson is averaging a double-double for the Wesley women’s basketball squad at 12.2 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.

• The men’s and women’s basketball teams from Delaware, Delaware State and Wesley are a combined 19-57 right now. None of the six squads have a winning record.

• The Delaware football team will be facing a new coach when it takes on James Madison next year. The Dukes’ Everett Withers left the Dukes to become the new head coach at FBS Texas State on Wednesday.

In two seasons, Withers led JMU to an 18-7 record and a pair of NCAA FCS playoff appearances. But he was only 1-1 against the Hens – and the Dukes needed to rally for a last-second win over Delaware last fall.

Reach the Delaware State News newsroom at newsroom@newszap.com

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