Delaware State knocks off no.2 North Carolina 71-58

title image via the MEAC

Courtesy of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference

NORFOLK, VA – Sixth-seeded Delaware State placed four players in double figures on its way to a 71-58 upset win over second-seeded North Carolina Central Friday in the semifinals of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) tournament at the Norfolk Scope.

Coach Stan Waterman’s Hornets played “giant killer” for the second time in as many nights to gain a spot opposite Howard, the fourth seed, in Saturday’s 1 p.m. finals which will be televised nationally by ESPN. Delaware State, 15-17, knocked off third-seeded South Carolina State Thursday by a similar 71-58 score to reach the semifinals.

Deywilk Tavarez, who poured in 29 points in Thursday’s win over the Bulldogs, had 20 points and three assists in the win over the Eagles. Jevin Muniz contributed 16 points and five rebounds, while Martaz Robinson had 12 points and six boards and Alston Andrews garnered 10 points in the victory. Wesley Oba had a  game-high 14 rebounds to lead the Hornets on the boards, to go along with seven points.

Delaware State last played in the finals in 2015 when the Hornets lost to Hampton, a former MEAC member. The Hornets last won the tournament in 2005.

Keishon Porter led the Eagles with 19 points in the loss. Fred Cleveland Jr. added 14 points and Po’Boigh King 11 for Coach LeVelle Moton’s team. Porter and Cleveland Jr. each pulled down eight boards in the loss for the Eagles who finished the year at 18-13.

The first half was closely contested and ended with Delaware State ahead by just one point, 27-26. Waterman’s team began the final 20 minutes with a 13-4 run to build a 40-30 edge on a follow shot by Andrews with 11:54 on the clock.

The Eagles battled back to close the gap to 44-40 on a 3-pointer by King at the 10:02 mark, but Muniz nailed a 3-pointer with 9:42 on the clock to give the Hornets a 49-40 edge. NCCU came back once more and was within 50-47 after a tip by Porter at the 6:41 mark.

Tavarez then hit the second of his two baskets from beyond the arc to ignite 12-1 run that gave Delaware State a 62-47 advantage with just 3:57 remaining. The Eagles could only get as close as the final margin the rest of the way as the Hornets sealed the win from the charity stripe.

Waterman, in his third season at the helm of the Hornet program, praised the effort of his team and noted that the rebuilding of the team was going good. He also gave kudos to Moton and the Eagles.

“When I took over this program three years ago, I was grateful for the opportunity to become a college head coach,” he said. “I promised that we would fight hard to revise the team, and the recent success is a testament to the hard work that we’ve put in. I want to thank the administration and the players for their contributions, and give Coach Moton and NC Central kudos for their season.”

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