Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hornets Basketball Season Review (Men's Edition)

Lets just called the Hornets men's basketball season the almost-redeem team. The reason why I say that is because last season the Hornets only had eight wins all season, six of them where conference. Plus they had a lot of junior transfers but that plan didn't work and Hornets didn't play with a lot of heart. That can frustrated for Coach Greg Jackson, Sr.

This year is way more different. The Hornets was protecting homecourt, their defense was like the Detroit Pistons, find ways to score, keep opponents frustrated when they cant get the ball also letting the Delaware State crowd get into game by making more noise. Plus the Hornets proved doubters wrong because the Hornets were picked to finished ninth in the MEAC Conference. Instead they finished second. The reason why I say almost redeem season is to what happen in the MEAC Tournament but I will get those details later.

For now lets take a stroll down memory lane as we recap the 2009-2010 Hornets basketball season.

Home court advantage:
Hornets started the season 4-1

The Hornets started season fresh and was tested tough at home by Division I, Division II, and Division III opponents.

DSU 67, Holy Family 57
Hornets witnessed the debut of freshman Alibaba Odd, who became a fan favorite in Memorial Hall when he scored 15 points vs Holy Family. The Hornets defense forced Holy Family to commit 20 turnovers which result in 17 Hornets points off of turnovers.

DSU 60, Wilmington College 44
For the third straight year, Delaware State continued their winning ways against Goldey-Beacom's rival Wilmington College as three different Hornets scored in double figures but its wasn't their shooting. It was their defense and their free-throws that gave the Hornets the victory. Delaware State forced Wilmington College to commit 26 turnovers that result in 23 Hornets points. Also the Hornets made 85% from the free throw line in order to make up for their shooting troubles.

Maine 59, DSU 56
The Hornets almost did everything right: shooting 50% from the field, 46% from three point land, 75% from the free throw line, and used their full court press through most of the game. There were two mistakes that cost the Hornets the game. The first mistake was that they were get out rebounded by Maine's big men by getting second chance points. Second mistake the Hornets couldn't score a bucket in the final 2:47 of the second half.

DSU 59, Mary Washington 43
It wasn't the Hornets starters that helped win the game, it was the bench players that gave the Hornets momentum. Despite Marcus Neal performance (17 points and five three pointers), the bench gave a huge lift by scoring 29 points and the defense kept Mary Washington in check.

DSU 75, University of Delaware 67
It was the first state rivalry that everyone has been waiting for. For the first time since 2000 Delaware State and University of Delaware were duking it out on the hardwood and both teams didn't let the fans disappointed. The atmosphere was full of Hornet red all around Memorial Hall with very few Blue Hen fans. None the less it was the Frisco Sandidige Show scoring a career high 26 points. It also a free throw shooting contest but the Hornets were going to the free throw 40 times making 30 of those free throws. That's a lot of free throws.

Non-Conference Games Full Brick Walls; Hornets lose six straight games
The Hornets continued their non-conference schedule this time on the road trip and on the wrong side of the tracks scoring only 49 points a game. The one game that would've been a Hornets victory was against University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Delaware state had chances to win but missing key shots down the stretch cost the Hornets the game as they couldn't secured their first conference win. Other than that the shots were not fallen as the Hornets played tough teams like Arizona State, UCLA, Ohio State, and Arkansas.

I give Hornets credit versus Ohio State because they stay in the game for most of the 1st half. The Buckeye crowd was booing their own team and the Hornets did whatever to prevent Ohio State from scoring a lot of points. However without Evan Turner due to injury the Buckeyes manage some key runs on offense and prevent the hornets from making easy shots to pull ahead to win the game.

Then on the day before the New Years Eve, the Hornets were back home against Lehigh University. DSU came from behind and Jay Threatt tied the game with under 20 seconds left in the 2nd half. With time running out Threatt had a chance to be the hero instead he tried to draw the foul and the layup was missed followed by a missed put back by Marcus Neal as the game went into overtime. In the overtime period, the Hornets struggle on offense and defense as they were outscored 13-7 in a 73-66 defeat.

A Big Test to Proved Doubters Wrong
Now its was the moment of truth the MEAC Conference Schedule. The Hornets started the month of January 6-1 with making huge home wins over Winston-Salem State (at the buzzer), South Carolina State, and Hampton (snowstorm game).

Also the road wins over Coppin State (on ESPNU), Bethune-Cookman, and FAMU. The Hornets only lost came at the hand of Morgan State. DSU had a 15 point lead until the final seven minutes when Morgan State rallied to win to game thanks to a Hornet collapse.

In February and March 4, was a nothing but crazy defense, great plays on offense, fun memories and not so good memories.

The best games were the four game home stead where Delaware State went 3-1 with with wins over Bethune-Cookman, FAMU, and Coppin State. The most exciting game was the rematch between DSU and Morgan State. Morgan State tried to take the Hornet crowd out of the game but late in the second half the Hornets rally but fell short on a missed three pointer.

Last but certainly not least is the final home game of the year when we say goodbye to our Hornet seniors Frisco Sandidge, Marcus Neal, Greg Smith, and Kris Douse.

The Hornets were playing University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Even though the Hornets 57-37 win, it was the war of words between Hornets fans and Hawks fans. Hawk fans and cheerleaders tried to get the best of Hornet fans but DSU fans made the best noise with their chants, the trash talking and cheerleaders.
A Roller Coaster Ride in the MEAC Tournament
In the quarterfinals the Hornets were playing against Bethune-Cookman. The Hornets had commanding lead but the Wildcats refuse to quit in the second half as they made key buckets and free throws to rally. DSU struggle to survive but made sure Bethune-Cookman didn't win the game.

During the semi-finals against South Carolina State, the Hornets shooting was very cold as ice and the defense barely kept them in the game. During the final eight minutes of the second half, the Hornets rally making key buckets, free throws and picking up the defense as the Hornets take the lead. However, South Carolina State forced overtime with a game-tying three pointer to forced overtime.

During the overtime session, both teams traded baskets as the Hornets took a slight four point lead but South Carolina State made key free throws and rebounds to end the game and putting a heartbreak to the Hornets season.
It was a good season for the Delaware State Hornets basketball season. Their defense was great but their offense has got to score more points. this year the Hornets only average 58.5 points per game. If the Hornets don't score in the 60s or 70s next year, there will problems come next year for the Hornets.

If the Hornets can keep up their intensive defense, then the Hornets will able win a whole lot of games come next season.

Now that our four seniors are graduating, its up to Chad Wilson, Marques Oliver, Jay Threatt, and Trevor Welcher to pick up the pieces of where they left off. Will the Hornets continue their winning ways or will it be a sluggish year in 2010-2011 for Greg Jackson senior and the Hornets? Only time will tell.