Hornets snap 21-game losing streak with win over Coppin State

 

DOVER — The fans in Memorial Hall came together as one and let out a collective exhale.

Finally, the Delaware State men’s basketball team’s losing streak is over.

Freshman Marquis Collins scored a game-high 23 points as the Hornets earned a 69-51 win over Coppin State in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference contest on Monday night. Delaware State moved to 3-25 overall and 1-12 in the conference.

The Hornets snapped a 21-game losing streak. It was also their first victory against a Division I opponent this season.

“We’ve lost games by one possession, in overtime and in double overtime so this feels great,” said senior Artem Tavakalyan who scored all 11 of his points in the second half.

“The guys have been working hard in practice after every loss. It’s really hard but I’m glad we came out with win especially at home. Our fans have been waiting for this.”

Delaware State pulled ahead in the second half when it turned a 35-30 lead into a 47-30 advantage with a 12-0 run.

Simon Okolue scored five unanswered points to put DSU up by double-digits for the first time. Okolue finished the night with 11 points.

After a pair of free throws by Collins, Tavakalyan brought the crowd to its feet with a two-handed slam off a lob from an inbounds pass. Tavakalyan buried a three-pointer from the corner two possessions later to finish the 12-0 run.

Delaware State led by as much as 23 in the second half. The Hornets shot 16-of-31 from the floor in the second half.

“The best half all year,” Collins said. “I feel like we’ve played like this in spurts all season. But tonight we put it all together.”

Saleick Edwards added a career-high 18 points off the bench for the Hornets. Edwards was in the starting lineup at the beginning of the season but missed several games and was only averaging 3.6 minutes a game during conference play.

“He came out of his shell tonight and that’s what we want from him,” said DSU coach Keith Walker.

“This is the closest we’ve been to our whole team since probably the second game,” Walker added. “These guys don’t back down, they still grind. It’s not an easy thing. We were losing games, but teams weren’t beating us. A lot of games we played we very close games but we wouldn’t make a play down the stretch.”

Coppin State could only close within 11 in the second half when Karonn Davis made a three with 10:26 remaining.

The Hornets answered that with a quick 8-1 run which was also capped off by a Tavakalyan three-pointer. DelState went up by 20 for the first time on Collins’ jumper with 5:20 left.

Monday was the first time Delaware State defeated a Division I team since Feb. 11, 2017 at Morgan State — a streak of 30 games.

“Everybody loses games you just have to be dedicated,” Tavakalyan said. “I still saw in practice how everyone works hard. Hopefully this can give us a jumpstart.”

 

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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