Hornets fall to NC Central in MEAC tourney 2nd round 92-75

The Delaware State University men’s basketball season came to a close in the second round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament.

The Hornets fell to top seed North Carolina Central 92-75 on Wednesday night. Delaware State, the eighth seed in the tournament, finished the year with a 6-26 record.

Delaware State was led by 25 points from John Crosby. Myles Carter was the only other Hornet in double-figures with 15 points.

C.J. Keyser scored a career-high 26 points, one of five North Carolina Central players in double-figures.

North Carolina Central (18-13) will play the winner of tonight’s quarterfinal game Bethune-Cookman-Morgan State in the semifinals on Friday.

Keyser shot 7-of-11 from the field and made six threes. Jordan Perkins had 17 points and eight assists while Jibri Blount added 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Eagles. Nicolas Fennell and Ty Graves chipped in 10 points apiece.

North Carolina Central started the game on a 32-7 run, capped by a three from Fennell.

The Hornets battled back to cut the deficit to 13 points at halftime. Delaware State got as close as 67-59 with 9:22 remaining in the contest before the Eagles answered with a 17-6 run to put the game out of reach.

Delaware State was coming off a 68-64 victory over Maryland Eastern Shore in Tuesday’s first round. It was the second year in a row Delaware State won at least one game in the conference tournament.

The Hornets were also eliminated by North Carolina Central in last season’s tournament and the Eagles went on to claim the championship.

The two squads were meeting for the third time this year.

Delaware State won the first matchup on a Crosby buzzer-beater at home on Jan. 11 68-66. North Carolina Central took the first rematch on Jan. 25 in North Carolina 72-45.

The Hornets will not be competing in next year’s MEAC Tournament due to a postseason ban after academic sanctions resulting from low APR scores.

They will be eligible for the 2022 edition of the tournament.