Visiting Jacksonville State pounds young Hornets 81-54

DOVER — The Delaware State University men’s basketball team really doesn’t have a choice but to go through this.

With one of the most inexperienced teams in the country, there’s only one way for the Hornets to get that experience it so desperately needs.

“The best teacher is experience,” said first-year coach Eric Skeeters” There’s a lesson we’re learning each night.”

It was another learning experience for DelState on Saturday.

The Hornets fell 81-54 to Jacksonville State in a home nonconference game Saturday. Delaware State dropped to 2-8 overall and still has not beaten a Division I team this year.

Delaware State slumped to a 21 percent shooting mark in the first half, allowing Jacksonville State to build a double-digit advantage.

Only two DelState players finished in double figures, led by Saleik Edwards’ 15 points. Kevin Larkin, a Sussex Tech product, chipped in 10 points.

Edwards and Larkin are two of the just five players on the Hornets who have Division I basketball experience as Skeeters only had a few months to fill out his roster since he was hired late in the summer.

“It’s really a brand new team,” Edwards said. “We got a coach late so we were really behind. It’s a process, we just got to believe and trust it.”

It was a bounce-back game for Edwards.

Edwards had a two-game stretch two weeks ago where he shot 1-of-19 against Washington State then 1-of-10 against Penn.
Edwards hit four threes in the first half alone on Saturday.

“Whether I have a good game or bad game, I’m constantly in the gym,” Edwards said. “I believe in myself and a shooter is going to shoot. That’s my role and my coach believes in me too, he tells me to keep shooting whether I’m making or missing.”

The rest of the Hornets were not as hot from the floor.

Edwards made four baskets in the first half while Pinky Wiley converted two. All other DelState players went a combined 1-of-20.

Jacksonville State was led by its two forward, Jason Burnell and Christian Cunningham. Both recorded double-doubles with Burnell the game’s top scorer with 20 points.

Jacksonville State outscored Delaware State in the paint 50-18. It led by as much as 32 points in the contest.

“It’s about putting a full game together for 40 minutes,” Skeeters said. “We had foul trouble, missed shots, missed opportunities and gave up some easy ones. When it comes to the second half, we have to understand we need to raise our level. We’re not quite there yet, when we get there, we’ll have a chance.”

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