HORNETS WIN MEAC CHAMPIONSHIP
11 March, 2005
Richmond, VA --- The Delaware State men's basketball team is the 2005 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champions!!! The Hornets defeated Hampton 55-53 to win the first MEAC Tournament championsip in team history in a nationally-televised game (ESPN2) at the Richmond Coliseum on Saturday. Aaron Williams hit a follow-up jumper with 1.6 seconds left for the game-winning basket. Hampton's inbound pass on the ensuing possession was intercepted as time expired, touching off a wild celebration by the Hornets and their fans. The tournament championship means Delaware State will represent the MEAC in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. The Hornets will learn their NCAA Tournament opponent and destination on Sunday. Delaware State trailed by as many as 13 points in the first half, but used a 9-0 run to cut the Pirates' lead to 25-21 at the break. Hampton opened up a nine point lead in the second half, but could not put the Hornets away. Jahsha Bluntt capped off a 16-6 run with a three-pointer to give DSU a 48-47 lead with 5:11 left to play. Hampton responded with a 6-0 run, and pulled ahead 53-48 on a three-pointer by Jeff Granger with 1:53 remaining. After a three-pointer by Terrance Hunter cut Hampton's lead to 53-50, the Hornets forced a turnover, and Bluntt nailed another three with 1:13 left to tie the game. Hampton failed to score on its next possesion to set up the Williams' heroics. Delaware State's Bruce Davis missed three-point attempt from the right baseline, but the ball was tipped by Bluntt into the hands of Williams, who hit a shot just shy of the free throw line. Bluntt was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player after scoring a team-high 16 points in the final. Sophomore point guard Darrin Shine was also named to the All-Tournament Team. Delaware State tied school records by winning its eighth straight and 19th game overall this season. The Hornets are also the first team in school history to qualify for a NCAA championship tournament.
Not 2 mention we was number 1 on standings before the tournament. Then Saturday we took it home baby!!!!!!! back to dover HOLLA progress is a slow progress but the hard work was well paid off da we been working hard for this the past two years and now its ours HHHHOOOORRRRNNNNEEEETTTTSSSS
Hornets Win MEAC Tournament Title
Mar 12, 2005
RICHMOND,Va.—Aaron Williams scored on an eight-foot tip-in with two seconds remaining to give Delaware State a dramatic, 55-53 win over Hampton University in the Mid-Eastern Conference Tournament championship at the Richmond Coliseum. The Hornets (19-13), the Number 1 seed, earn at automatic bid to the NCAA tournament to be announced on Sunday.
Delaware State trailed by as many as nine twice in the second half, but rallied on the scoring of Jahsha Bluntt, who tallied 11 of his team’s 15 points at one time. His three-point shot from the right side with 1:13 remaining finished the run and tied the score at 53-all with 1:13 remaining.
Following a timeout, the Pirates failed to convert on their end and turned the ball over, giving possession to the Hornets, who worked the clock and twice used timeouts to set up the potential game-winning shot.
Tournament MVP Jahsha Bluntt and Coach Greg Jackson
With the clock running down, Delaware State’s Bruce Davis took a three-point attempt from the right corner that came off the rim and into the hands of Bluntt who tipped it to Williams eight feet in front of the basket. In one motion, Williams tipped it in.
“The ball just came to me and my first instinct was to shoot it because I knew that time was running out,” explained Williams, who finished with six points and five assists. “It felt good leaving my hands and even better when I saw it go though the net.”
There was still 1.6 seconds left on the clock and Hampton still had a chance for a miracle shot, but it was not to be as they failed to get off a shot before the buzzer sounded.
The game and victory was typical of the Hornets’ season that saw them picked to finish fifth in the pre=season poll and then finish the season with a rush to overtake Hampton and Coppin State for the regular season title during the last weekend of the regular season.
“All season, we have kept our poise through it all,” said an elated Delaware State Coach Greg Jackson. “Even when we were down today, we believed we would win. It is a credit to the players and the coaches for their belief in each other.”
Coach Jackson celebrates with his sons
The Pirates (17-13), the Number 2 seed, got off to a quick start on the play of Devin Green, who scored 12 of his team’s first half points. Hampton had what appeared to be somewhat of a comfortable 25-13 lead late in the first half, but the Hornets sent a message with a 7-0 run to stay within striking distance at 25-21.
The Pirates regained control, scoring the first five points of the half, but each time Delaware would answer with key stops or baskets.
“They made some changes on defense in the second half that forced our shooters out a little further than they were in the first half,” said Hampton Coach Bobby Collins, the MEAC Coach of the Year. “That, and the fact that they made some adjustments on offense at halftime. Williams and (Darren) Shine hurt us with **** dribble and it opened up things for Jahsha Bluntt. Even with that, I thought we did a pretty good job on him (Bluntt), but he is so athletic that he was still able to knock down some shots.”
The presence of Hampton’s imposing, 6-11, 270-pound center Bruce Brown dictated the change in the Hornets’ plan of attack.
“Normally, we don’t shoot that many three pointers,” admitted Coach Jackson. “But with Brown inside and the defense that they were playing, we looked to get Jahsha and (Terrence) Hunter open for three-point shots. Thank God they were able to hit them in the second half.”
Green finished with 14 points and 4 assists and Brown added a double-double of 13 points and 14 rebounds for the Pirates, who lost all three games to Delaware State this season.
Bluntt led all scorers with 16 while Hunter contributed 15, many coming in crucial moments.