Rough second half dooms DSU in 81-60 loss to UMBC

DSU’s Jonathan Walker takes to the air on a layup against UMBC at DSU on Wednesday. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

DOVER — Delaware State University put together one of its best halves of the season.

What followed, though, was one of its worst.

The Hornets let a five-point halftime lead slip away and were outscored by 26 points in the second half in a 81-60 defeat to UMBC on Wednesday night in a nonconference men’s basketball contest. DelState dropped to 2-8 on the season and still has not beaten a Division I opponent.

“We have to sustain what we did for more than 20 minutes,” said DSU coach Keith Walker.

Delaware State was up 40-35 at halftime but did not score a point in the first five minutes of the second half. The Retrievers went on a 12-0 run during that time span to take a 47-40 advantage.

Jonathan Walker made a three-pointer to pull the Hornets back within four but that was as close as they would get as UMBC drilled a three-pointer of its own on the next possession.

DSU’s Simon Okolue on a layup against UMBC at DSU on Wednesday. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

The Retrievers scored 46 points in the second half and DelState only managed 20.

‘They made us play a little faster and what we didn’t do was play under control,” Keith Walker said. “I think we lost our sense of execution. They got us speeding up and some guys went into an individual game which really hurt us.”

UMBC made 10-of-18 of its three-point attempts in the second half — a 55.6 percent mark. The Retrievers finished the game 16-of-33 (48.5 percent) from behind the arc.

“They got hot and these guys are a very good three-point shooting team,” Walker said. “We sort of lost our concentration on the defensive end. We didn’t execute anything very well in the second half.”

Delaware State led by as much as eight in the first half before UMBC’s second half run.

DSU’s Artem Tavakalyn, left, and Daivon Gamble, right, battle for a rebound against UMBC’s Arkel Lamar at DSU in the first half on Wednesday. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

The Hornets have lost six games this year by 20 points or more.

There were a couple of bright spots in this defeat however.

Simon Okolue, a junior college transfer, recorded a double-double. He was DSU’s second-leading scorer with 12 points and also grabbed 12 rebounds. Six of those rebounds were on the offensive end.

“When he’s in the game we’re a much better basketball team,” Walker said. “Once he gets his minutes, he’s very productive. We’ve got to utilize him a little better.”

Jonathan Walker topped Delstate with 17 points and also provided four assists. Kavon Waller was the only other Hornet in double figures with 10 points while Artem Tavakalyan and Pinky Wiley scored nine points apiece.

UMBC’s Jairus Lyles was the game’s leading scorer with 21 points. K.J. Maura and Arkel Lamar each netted 15 points for the Retrievers.

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