NORFOLK- Norfolk State ran its win streak to a Division I record nine straight and moved to 10-0 in the MEAC as the Spartan men's basketball team pulled away from Delaware State in a 74-56 victory Saturday night at Joseph Echols Hall.
The Spartans outscored the Hornets by 12 in the second half after holding a six-point lead at the break, snapping a five-game losing streak to Delaware State that stretched back to January of 2009. Juniors Brandon Goode and Malcolm Hawkins each scored 12 points in the second stanza to help NSU run its overall record to 15-10 on the year.
Hawkins tied his career high with 20 points on 8-of-16 shooting, while Goode posted his third double-double of the year with 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting with 11 rebounds. NSU shot better than 50 percent in the second half and finished 30-of-63 from the floor (47.6 percent).
The team's nine-game win streak marks the longest since winning 14 in a row during the 1994-95 season. At 10-0, NSU extended its best start in conference play since a 14-0 start in the CIAA to begin the 1989-90 season.
Delaware State, fourth in the conference coming into the night, dropped to 5-3 in the MEAC and 10-12 overall. The victory greatly improved NSU's chances of finishing in the top three in the league, and thus guaranteeing a first-round bye in the MEAC tournament.
Early in the second half DSU's Kendall Gray threw down a fastbreak dunk to cut the Spartan lead to just four, 36-32, at the 17:06 mark. Two minutes later a pair of free throws from the Hornets made it 42-37, but the Spartans then went on a 22-8 run over the next nine minutes to pull away from Delaware State
Hawkins and Goode combined for 18 of those 22 points during that time, and Goode scored eight in a row at one point as NSU eventually pulled out to a 64-45 advantage with just 6:28 left. The Spartans extended their lead to as much as 23, and the Hornets got no closer than 18 the rest of the way for NSU's largest margin of victory in conference play since a 20-point win over Howard on Jan. 9, 2012.
NSU's previous 13 MEAC wins in the regular season, dating back to last year, had been by 10 points or less. The Spartans have won all 10 games this year in which they led at the half.
Marques Oliver paced the Hornets with 16 points and 14 rebounds, while Miles Bowman also scored in double figures with 11. Delaware State shot just 35.8 percent for the game on 19-of-53 shooting.
NSU turned 17 DSU turnovers into a 23-8 advantage in points off turnovers. The Spartans out-rebounded the Hornets by seven and outscored them in the paint by a 40-24 margin.
The Spartans had the Hornets on their heels early in the game, jumping out to a 10-2 lead after a trey from Hawkins, and extended it to nine, 19-10, at the 10:40 mark after a bucket from senior Rob Johnson.
Delaware State went on a 9-0 run over the next couple of minutes to tie the score at 19-19, but the Spartans held firm and eventually went up by six at the half when Kris Brown hit a shot in the lane with 12 seconds left.
Johnson also scored in double figures with 10. Junior Pendarvis Williams added nine points and moved to within eight of reaching 1,000 for his career. Junior Jamel Fuentes finished with a game-high six assists to go with six boards and three steals.