The Delaware State men’s basketball team led as many as 22 points second half, but had to survive a furious rally by North Carolina A&T to notch its first MEAC win of the season, 57-55, in Memorial Hall on Monday night.
It was also the first victory over a Division I team this season for the the Hornets (1-4 MEAC, 2-17 overall). The Aggies dropped their eighth in a row to fall to 2-5.
DSU led 32-19 at the break, and scored the first nine points of the second half to open up its biggest lead. Scott Sill capped off the run with a three-pointer to give the Hornets a 41-19 advantage at the 15:51 mark of the second half.
But North Carolina A&T chipped away at the deficit throughout the half, and pulled to within 56-54 after a three-old play by Denzel Keyes with 2:04 left.
The Aggies had four chances to tie the game or take the lead over the next minute-and-a-half, but missed three shots and committed a turnover during the span.
After Devin Morgan hit one-of-two free throws to give the Hornets a 57-54 lead, NCA&T had the ball with 26 seconds left.
Delaware State’s Todd Hughes was whistled for a foul with 2.5 seconds left. NCA&T guard Sam Hunt hit the first free throw to cut DSU’s lead to 57-55.
Hunt missed the second shot on purpose, and the Aggies got a break when the ball went out of bounds off a DSU player with 1.6 seconds on the clock.
North Carolina A&T failed to take advantage of the opportunity, though, when it committed a turnover on the inbounds play as time expired.
Dana Raysor was high scorer for Delaware State with 16 points, while Morgan added 12 points and a career-high eight assists for the Hornets.
WOMEN, North Carolina A&T 84, Delaware State 64: The Hornets fell to 2-3 in the MEAC, 5-13 overall with the home loss on Monday night.
Maintaining an eight-point lead at the break, the Aggies used a 15-0 run over a four-minute span to pull away.
Guard Mikah Aldridge totaled a team-high 16 points for DSU, but was 0-for-6 from 3-point range. Forward NaJai Pollard also scored in double figures (10).
The Hornets shot only 10 percent (2-for-20) from three-point range, which was their worst effort from long distance this season.
DSU’s Aaliyah Davis (Milford) tallied career-highs in points (11) and rebounds (8), in addition to three assists.
Wesley games postponed again: The Wesley College men’s and women’s basketball teams have been forced to reschedule their Capital Athletic Conference contest against Southern Virginia for a second time due to weather and travel complications.
The games, originally scheduled for Saturday and then moved to Monday are now scheduled to be played on Feb. 1 at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. in Beuna Vista, Va.
Delle Donne a finalist for Olympic team: Former Delaware basketball star Elena Delle Donne is one of 25 finalists for the U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball team.
Last year’s WNBA MVP with the Chicago Sky, Delle Donne was selected by the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee, which will chose the official 12-member U.S. Olympic team later this year.
The USA Basketball Women’s National team will conduct a training camp Feb. 21-23 at the University of Connecticut. Athletes taking part in the minicamp, which is expected to be the final training before the 2016 U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball team is selected, will be announced at a later date and will come from the pool of finalists.
The group of finalists includes 15 athletes who have earned a combined 41 Olympic and FIBA World Championship gold medals.
“Naming the Olympic Team finalists is another step in our selection process,” said Carol Callan, USA Basketball Women’s National Team Director and chair of the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee. “Because of the quality and talent in the USA National Team pool, every time we pare the list it is a difficult task. Yet, we eventually have to get down to a 12-member team, so we conscientiously look at the present goal of winning a gold medal at the Rio Olympic Games with an eye to sustaining our success in the future.
“This list of finalists is a mix of veterans, youth, international savvy and USA Basketball experience. What adds to the challenge of picking a team is the devotion and commitment all of our athletes have to our USA National Team and representing their country, especially given the year-round play many of them have in the WNBA and on overseas teams.”
“I think the committee has a tough decision ahead of it,” said USA and Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma, who has directed the USA National Team to an overall 23-0 record and gold medals at the 2012 Olympic Games and the 2010 and 2014 FIBA World Championships. “When I look at this list of athletes, we could split them down the middle and have two very competitive teams. We have a great mix of gold medalists and players who are hungry to play in their first Olympics.
“There is versatility at all positions. Our posts are the strongest we’ve seen in years, we have guys who can shoot, guys who can defend, and I’m just happy I don’t have to make the decision as to who will be playing in Rio.”
Last October Delle Donne participated in the USA National Team’s European tour and aided the U.S. to a 4-0 record against a trio of European professional clubs and the Italian National Team.