Hornet men take step back, fall at home to S.C. State 56-41

DOVER — If there was any optimism surrounding the Delaware State men’s basketball team after back-to-back wins during the week, Saturday served as a reminder to what the Hornets have been most of this season.

Delaware State only had one player in double figures and slumped to a 56-41 MidEastern Athletic Conference defeat to South Carolina State. The Hornets fell to 3-18 overall and 2-5 in the MEAC.

“I think we certainly took a step back tonight,” said DSU coach Keith Walker. “I thought we were coming along pretty well these last couple of games but we just missed the boat offensively. Execution on offense was decent, we got open looks but we didn’t connect on anything.”

The Hornets only led once, 1-0, and missed their first nine shot attempts. They didn’t convert a field goal until Devin Morgan Jr. nailed a three with eight minutes gone in the first half.

It was one of only two three-pointers the Hornets were able to convert. Delaware State shot a putrid 10 percent from deep (2-for-20).

For the game, DelState shot 29 percent from the floor, hitting 16-of-54 shot attempts.

“It’s hard to beat any team like that,” Walker said.

Even with the shooting issues, Delaware State trailed just 22-21 early on in the second half.

But South Carolina State (7-2 MEAC, 12-11 overall) went on a 17-6 run. The Bulldogs’ largest advantage was by 20 points with 2:09 remaining.

When it seemed like Delaware State was missing every three it took, it was quite the opposite for South Carolina State’s Eric Eaves. Eaves came off the bench to pace the Bulldogs with a game-high 22 points and three of his four three-point attempts.

The Bulldogs also grabbed 19 offensive rebounds to win the rebound battle 44-39.

“That’s the same old bug that was biting us earlier in the year,” Walker said of the offensive rebounds. “We can’t allow that to happen.”

Morgan Jr. topped the Hornets with six rebounds, which Walker said showed how poorly his team rebounded.

“You can’t have your point guard be your leading rebounder,” he said.

DeAndre Haywood finished as the only Hornet in double figures with 10 points. Todd Hughes chipped in eight points off the bench on 4-of-7 shooting.

DeVaughn Malloy (Polytech High) and Artem Tavakalyan each came off the bench to net six points for the Hornets. Tavakalyan, who only played in the second half, also had a career-high three assists.

It was the second win for South Carolina State over DSU this season. The Bulldogs defeated the Hornets 90-79 on Jan. 16.

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