DSU suffers second straight tough MEAC home defeat

DOVER — A strong start to conference play with two tough road wins was erased thanks to a pair of narrow home defeats.

The Delaware State men’s basketball team lost another nail-biter at home on Monday, 75-70 to Norfolk State in a MidEastern Athletic Conference contest on Monday night. The Hornets dropped to 2-2 in conference play.

It came just two days after the Hornets blew a 10-point second half lead on Saturday when they fell to Hampton in overtime. Delaware State had started off its MEAC slate unbeaten with road victories against North Carolina A&T and North Carolina Central.

“This is unfortunate,” said DSU coach Keith Walker. “You have to take care of your home floor. We weren’t able to do it the last two games. We played well, just not well enough to win.”

Norfolk State was up by as much as 15 points in the second half before the Hornets used a 9-0 to cut into the deficit. Delaware State was able to make it a one-possession game multiple times in the final two minutes.

Artem Tavakalyn drained a three to make it a one-point game with 1:19 left, but DelState never got closer than that. Norfolk State hit seven of eight free throw attempts in the final 1:30.

Meanwhile the Hornets missed five key free throws in the final two minutes.

“We made too many mistakes and free throws were a big part of that,” senior guard DeAndre Haywood said. “We missed five free throws, they won by five. That’s the game right there.”

“We overcame that deficit,” Haywood added. “Once we got in a rhythm we fought back and got some stops. But like I said, with two minutes left in the game we made too many costly mistakes.”

Delaware State finished the game 23-of-33 from the free throw line. The Hornets were led by Haywood who went 10-of-14.

Norfolk State’s Zaynah Robinson was able to ice the game by hitting all six of his free throw attempts with under a minute to go.

“That kid hit all six and we’re missing,” Walker said. “When were shooting two free throws, we got to hit both. We were missing free throws and missing layups which caused us to get the free throws. We’re in a situation where we have to improve and make better decisions down the stretch.”

Devin Morgan paced the Hornets with 16 points and Haywood was their only other player in double figures with four.

Norfolk State had four different players in double figures. Jonathan Wade was the game’s top scorer with 20 points on an 8-of-11 shooting performance.

Jordan Butler hit all four of his field goal attempts and finished with 15 points while Robinson added 13. Kerwin Okoro chipped in 10 points for the Spartans.

Norfolk State went 14-of-16 from the foul line in the second half (87.5 percent).

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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