Hornets fall short with 71-70 loss against Bethune-Cookman

DOVER — John Crosby had the ball and a step on his defender as the clock was winding down.

“We’ll take that every time,” said Delaware State men’s basketball coach Erick Skeeters.

Yet the shot did not go in somehow.

Crosby’s potential game-winner rimmed out at the buzzer as the Hornets fell to Bethune-Cookman 71-70 in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference contest at home on Monday night. It is the fifth loss in a row for Delaware State (3-22 overall, 2-9 MEAC).

The Hornets never led Monday until Pinky Wiley knocked down a pair of free throws with 13 seconds left to put Delaware State on top 70-69.

But that advantage only lasted seven seconds.

Bethune-Cookman (13-13 overall, 7-5 MEAC) came down and has Isaiah Bailey’s layup blocked by Ameer Bennett but the referees whistled a foul on Bennett. Bailey made both free throw attempts to give the Wildcats the lead back.

The Hornets got the ball to Crosby, their leading scorer, after a timeout and he worked by his defender and into the lane. He went up for the shot as the clock showed two seconds left and either released the ball too hard or too soon as it bounced out off the rim and fell to the right of the basket.

“The kids are broken up right now,” Skeeters said. “They’re heartbroken. They worked so hard. They’re getting better and have kept fighting. I love those guys. It’s just, I guess sometimes you’re the dog and sometimes you’re the tree.”

“Obviously you want a different result but you want that effort and intensity,” Skeeters said. “They gave everything they’re supposed to give. But that shot didn’t go in.”

Delaware State trailed by as much as 15 but was able to rally to take the Wildcats all the way to the wire.

Bailey, who hit the game-winning free throws for Bethune-Cookman, finished 12-of-13 from the line despite shooting 2-of-10 on his field goal attempts. He had 16 points while Cletrell Pope paced the Wildcats with 19 points and 16 rebounds.

Crosby was the top scorer for Delaware State with 15 points. Myles Carter added 14 while Bennett had 11 and Wiley contributed 10.

It was the second tough defeat of the weekend for the Hornets. They lost to Florida A&M 97-94 on Saturday in a game that went to double overtime.

“Sometimes you have to fail in order to succeed,” Skeeters said. “Like that old Michael Jordan commercial he misses so many shots so he can learn to win. That’s what we’re doing. We’re still learning.”

WOMEN, Bethune-Cookman 66, Delaware State 55: The Hornets fell to the first-place Wildcats to drop to 7-4 in MEAC play and 11-13 overall.

The Wildcats built their lead thanks to an 11-4 run in the first quarter to go up 18-9. They then added an 11-0 run in the third quarter and led by as much as 20 in the fourth quarter.

Janasia Law led the Hornets with a game-high 13 points. Tierra Floyd and Sharajah Collins each followed with 11 points.