Tuesday, March 16, 2010
For the Delaware State Hornets men's basketball team it was both determenation and heartbreaking.
Last year the Hornets were one and done in a first round of the MEAC Tournament against Hampton University.
This year the Hornets played with heart and intensity to become oh so close from reaching the MEAC Championship game.
In the quarterfinals versus Bethune-Cookman, the Hornets were off to a great start shooting five three pointers, forcing Bethune-Cookman to commit 11 turnovers and fitting the right notes lead by Marcus Neal and have a 32-22 lead going into halftime.
In the second half, the roller coaster started. The Hornets had 43-24 lead until Bethune-Cookman began chipping away the lead by hitting their shots and making a 17 of their 21 free throws. I was saying to myself oh-no this can't be happening.
Delaware State didn't panic until the last 10 seconds of the game when Jay Threatt miss both free throws and Wildcats had the final possession with a chance to win the game or send it into overtime. The problem was that Stanley Elliot of the Wildcats missed a short jumper, and Alexander Starling's tip-in was disallowed after an officials' review determined that time had expired.
Hornets players and coaches were so disappointed after the game because they blew a 19 point lead only to win by only two points.
During the semi-finals against South Carolina State, the Hornets were having trouble shooting the ball and making free throws. Delaware State was fourtune to be down by only seven points at halftime.
During the first 12 minutes of the second half the Hornets were just shooting low percentage shots and the defense couldn't stop the speedy plays of the Bulldogs and just like that they were down 49-34.
I was keeping track of the game on MEAC Sports.com and 1290theticket.com and I was praying for the Hornets to make a huge spark and start a rally.
Just like that during the final eight minutes the Hornets rallied with their defense, making high percentage shots, and making free throws when it counted.
The best one of all is when Delaware State made a 17-2 run which include Marcus Neal and Frisco Sandidge converting three-point plays during the Delaware State rally.
Hornets stretch the lead to to 55-51 with 80 seconds left in regulation.
I was on the edge on my seat hoping that Delaware State will finished the job and play Morgan State in round three instead it went down like crazy.
After Trevor Welcher made two free throws the Hornets were 20 seconds away from a date with destiny until South Carolina State made game tying three pointer and I was like oh no here we go again.
Jay Threatt was running down the court trying to make the game winning basket and draw contact, instead Threatt was called for the offensive foul.
The Bulldogs had five seconds to get a shot off to either tied or win the game.
South Carolina State appeared to win the gave at the buzzer in regulation when a desperation shot near half court by Brandon Smalls went high off the rim and through the net, but the Bulldog bench had called for a timeout before the shot.
So overtime began and I was hoping again that the Hornets would finished the job. I don't know how many times I said that.
Both teams traded baskets until South Carolina State took the lead and pulled away with a victory thanks to the Hornets missing several key buckets and free throws.
It was devastating and heartbroken at the same time. Give Hornets credit, they fought hard to come back and had several chances to put the game away.
However, missing shots, free throws, bad defense, and falling behind through most of the game cost the Hornets the game and the season.
Rest assure the Delaware State Hornets will be back better than ever in the MEAC Tournament.