Young Hornets suffer 76-48 loss to Penn

Jonathan Mitchell of Delaware State squeezes between a pair of Quakers for a shot in the first half. Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

DOVER — The new era of Delaware State University basketball has to start somewhere.

With a young, inexperienced squad, the Hornets are expected to take their lumps in the nonconference portion of their schedule.

The Hornets suffered their sixth loss of the year on Tuesday night, falling 76-48 to the University of Pennsylvania. Delaware State dropped to 1-6 and has not beaten a Division I opponent yet.

Penn improved to 6-2.

Delaware State head coach Eric Skeeters rallies with his team before Tuesday’s game with the University of Pennsylvania.

Delaware State is in the first year of Eric Skeeters’ tenure. Skeeters was not hired until August, giving him little time to bring in a recruiting class as he inherited a roster with only five available returning players.

“It’s a marathon,” Skeeters said. “We’ve got to keep working, keep grinding and keep working every lap of this marathon. We’ve got to do the same things correctly and excel at them. That way, we can build on it. It’s only November, it’s a long season.”

Penn shot 40.6 percent from three-point range and was led by Bryce Washington’s 16 points. A.J. Brodeur provided a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds.

DSU’s Jonathan Mitchell fires a pass to a Hornet teammate behind his back after being blocked by a pair of Quaker defenders.

Sophomore Pinky Wiley paced Delaware State with a game-high 19 points.

The Hornets did go on top early thanks to five quick points by freshman Fahim Jenneto, lifting them to an 8-2 lead. But Penn answered with a 10-0 run and would never trail again.

Penn was up 23-17 with 8:23 left in the first before it used a 15-0 run to go up 38-17 with 2:56 until halftime. Ronald Lucas’ dunk for the Hornets finally halted the Quaker run.

Saleik Edwards drained a three to beat the buzzer at the end of the first half to cut Penn’s lead to 41-27 at halftime.

The Quakers led by as much as 22 in the first half.

Ameer Bennett of Delaware State battles University of Pennsyvania’s A.J. Brodeur for a rebound.

“We weren’t making shots and then they got on that long run,” Wiley said. “We just got too comfortable on defense and didn’t execute on offense. It put us in a hole. … We’re trying to build as a team. We’re still learning each other with a new team and a new coach.”

Things only got worse for the Hornets in the second half as they were out-scored 35-21 and went 5-of-29 from the floor.

Wiley was the only Hornet in double figures. Jonathan Mitchell scored five points and led Delaware State with 12 rebounds.

DelState finished the game with a 23.8 percent shooting mark.

“We’re learning,” Skeeters said. “We’re learning what effort is, learning what playing hard is, learning what embracing being a part of college basketball is. It’s laying the foundation. We got to till the soil and make sure it’s solid so we can build on it. That was tonight.”

Delaware State is down two of its veteran players.

Both Kobe Gantz and Demola Onifade have not played yet this season due to injuries. Gantz has been out since last November after suffering a serious knee injury.

Kevin Larkin, a senior transfer from Niagara University, has also been hurt this year. Larkin, a Sussex Tech product, missed the
first three games and did not play on Tuesday.

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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