Despite Crosby’s 30 points, Hornets can’t keep up with Hens

John Crosby scored a game-high 30 points to lead Delaware State. (Delaware State Sports Information/Rodney Adams)

WILMINGTON — It’s the time of the season where moral victories do not matter as much.

Eric Skeeters wants to start seeing some results.

So while the Hornets showed some flashes of solid play on Monday against Delaware, they were still disappointed by a 86-78 defeat to their instate rivals. The Delaware State men’s basketball team dropped to 1-10 overall and still has not defeated a Division I opponent this year.

“The ‘closes’ and the ‘almosts’ are done, now it’s time to finish, without a doubt” Skeeters said. “It’s time to hit free throws when they matter. It’s time to keep the momentum and execute down the stretch.”

The Hornets hung around against the heavily-favored Blue Hens Monday but could not get within more than eight points in the second half.

They were led by John Crosby’s game-high 30 points. Crosby has now scored 30 points in back-to-back games, the first Hornet since Amere May in 2015 to accomplish such a feat.

Crosby scored 21 of his points in the second half trying to lead the DSU comeback but Delaware always had an answer.

“Delaware is a great team and they made a lot of adjustments,” Crosby said. “We would make runs then they would make changes and we had to figure out what would be the best rhythm for us. When we went on our runs, we were making shots. When you play a good team like that and you miss, they’re going to capitalize. We went on our runs, they went on their runs but they were able to sustain a lead at about eight or 10 and keep it.”

Crosby finished 11-of-22 (50 percent) on his field goal attempts but the rest of the team shot 18-of-48 (37.5 percent). Ameer Bennett was one of two other Hornets in double figures as he recorded a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Lance Singh III hit a couple of late three-pointers to end up with 11 points.

Skeeters pointed out a few things which showed signs of improvement such as the fact DSU held Delaware to 0-of-8 from the three-point line in the second half. The Hornets also won the rebounding battle 39-36 and had a positive assist-to-turnover ratio.

“You can’t change the personnel,” Skeeters said. “You can’t make a trade. We’re getting better. Delaware is a good team, so we’re at a point where we’re competing against good teams. Now we have to finish. We have to find a way to close these games out and I think we will. We’re right there. We’re still taking those necessary steps.”

Skeeters also hopes the Hornets will take some more steps when they have their full roster available. Georgetown transfer Chris Yannick (a 7-foot-3 center) will be eligible in January while D’Marco Baucum and Fahim Jenneto are both recovering from injuries and have yet to play this season.

“When we get guys back to their natural positions the efficiency will be a lot better,” Skeeters said.

Delaware State has three more games before it begins Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play on Jan. 4 against Morgan State. The Hornets have Jacksonville State next up on the schedule, an 8:30 p.m. road contest on Wednesday.

“Every game we progress and get better,” Crosby said. “Going into the conference I think we’ll be prepared to play against the teams in our league. We’ve been battle-tested. This was another great challenge for us and I think we handled it well. We showed some flashes of how good we can be.”

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