Hornets start strong but can’t keep up with LIU

DOVER — It was the best start of the season for the Delaware State men’s basketball team.

But the Hornets weren’t able to finish it off for their first victory of the season.

Long Island-Brooklyn rallied in the second half to deal Delaware State a 92-84 defeat in nonconference action. The Hornets dropped to 0-4 on the season.

Delaware State led by as much as 16 in the first half but LIU was able to come back to only trail by five at half time and out-scored Delaware State 51-38 in the second half.

“Learning how to win is one of the hardest things to do in any sport and that’s where we’re at,” said DSU coach Eric Skeeters. “What a great start, our best start all year. We were making shots, guarding, flying around, sharing the ball and then we looked at the scoreboard and got complacent on the defensive end.”

Delaware State’s final lead came with 8:05 left when John Stansbury nailed a three-pointer. Ashtyn Bradley responded with a three of his own for LIU on the next possession before Raiquan Clark’s layup and free throw plus another three from Bradley put LIU on top 78-72.

The Hornets pulled within a possession on John Crosby’s jumper with 2:48 remaining at 83-80. The Sharks ended the game on a 9-4 run though as the Hornets hit only two baskets in the final 2:30.

Crosby, a transfer from Dayton, led the Hornets with a game-high 32 points.

“We had a couple of crucial turnovers,” Crosby said. “We should have made more shots down the stretch. We didn’t get enough stops. I think as the season comes down we’re learn that it’s important to lock in and stay focused in the final five minutes of the game.”

“You get experience in tight games,” Crosby added. “You’ll learn how to win tight games but you’ll lose some too to get better. I think we’re getting better before the MEAC and we’re trying to put it all together.

John Crosby

Crosby is in his final season of eligibility after transferring. He was on the Hornet roster a year ago in Skeeters’ first season as head coach but had to sit out the full year due to NCAA transfer regulations.

His 32 points were the most by a Hornet in a game since Kevin Larkin scored 40 against Cairn on Dec. 3, 2018. It was the first time a DSU player broke the 30-point barrier against a Division I opponent since Marquise Collins netted 30 on Jan. 27, 2018 against Savannah State.

Stansbury finished with 18 points for the Hornets while Ameer Bennett was also in double figures with 14.

Clark was LIU’s top scorer with 25 points. Tyrn Flowers recorded a double-double with 20 points and 17 rebounds.

The Sharks had three more players in double figures. Jashaun Agosto earned 15 points, Bradley had 14 and Julian Batts added 12.

LIU shot 51.7 percent from the floor (31-of-60) and was 42.9 percent on 12-of-28 three-pointers.

“At the end of the day we got to hang our hat on the defensive end,” Skeeters said. “This one was a tough one.”

The Hornets only hit six threes on 23 attempts (26 percent). They shot 51.4 percent from the floor in the first half but slumped to a 37.1 percent shooting margin in the second.

“The moral of the story is we got to keep getting better,” Skeeters said. “It’s still the first couple of laps of this marathon.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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