DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Norfolk State men’s basketball team saw its 10-game win streak come to an end on Monday night at Moore Gym, as Bethune-Cookman pulled off its second straight upset with a 75-65 win over the Spartans.
Two days after knocking off third-place Hampton, the Wildcats did it again, defeating the second-place Spartans thanks to their 3-point shooting and NSU’s own woes from the floor. Brandon Tabb scored 22 points on 7-of-14 shooting to lead the way for B-CU.
Norfolk State had not lost since Jan. 14 in a setback to first-place North Carolina Central. After Monday’s loss, the Spartans fell to 11-3 in the MEAC and 14-14 overall, falling two games behind the Eagles in the loss column. NSU now sits just one game ahead of both Hampton and Morgan State (9-4).
Shooting just 37 percent from the floor for the night, the Spartans could not hold momentum after a strong start. They held off the Wildcats for most of the first half until B-CU went ahead with four minutes left before the half. Norfolk State stayed within six in the early part of the second period, getting to within one during a certain stretch, but the Wildcats led those entire 20 minutes.
They improved their conference record to 4-9 as well as their overall mark to 7-20. An 11-of-21 3-point effort played a big part in B-CU’s triumph.
NSU, on the other hand, got a double-double effort from junior Jordan Butler with 16 points and 10 rebounds. He made 8-of-9 from the free throw line.
He was also instrumental in NSU’s fast start to the game. It took less than three and a half minutes for Bethune-Cookman to call its first timeout after the Spartans scored the first nine points of the game. Later on, sophomore Alex Long had a putback and junior Zaynah Robinson drained a jumper to put NSU ahead 15-8 just six minutes into the game.
But during the next eight and a half minutes, NSU could only convert one field goal, that a putback by junior Bryan Gellineau. That allowed the Wildcats to creep back up and tie the score twice before Butler’s layup with 5:08 left in the half. A minute later, Tabb knocked down a 3-pointer to give the Wildcats their first lead of the game, 25-24.
That began a 13-3 run for the Wildcats, whose eight-point lead late in the first period forced NSU to call timeout. Robinson was able to hit a jumper to cut the Bethune-Cookman lead to 35-29 going into the half.
Early in the second half, the Spartans stayed within six but got no closer than one after juniors Dan Robinson and Micah Goss each had layups to make it 39-38 in favor of B-CU. Every time NSU answered, such as with Butler’s 3-point play at the 14:15 mark, the Wildcats answered right back. Tabb and Quinton Forrest each knocked down 3-pointers after Butler’s bucket, and Houston Smith’s putback made it 52-44 halfway through the second period.
Bethune-Cookman stretched the advantage to nine at 57-48 on Tabb’s fourth 3-pointer of the game. Butler made two free throws and senior Jonathan Wade knocked down a trey as NSU scored the next five points. But Jeffrey Altidort and Forrest each hit one from long range to push the Wildcat advantage to 10. The Spartans could only get as close as seven with a late flurry in the last minute of play.
Wade had 15 points and seven rebounds, breaking a five-game streak of double-doubles. Zaynah Robinson scored 14 with five assists, but the duo combined to hit just 11-of-29 from the floor. Norfolk State made 23-of-62 (37.1 percent), while B-CU had the same amount of field goals on 12 less attempts to convert 46 percent overall.
Thanks in part to Butler, Wade and Dan Robinson (six boards), NSU held a 42-30 edge in rebounds. That included an 18-4 advantage in offensive boards, although the Spartans only scored 12 points off those 18 second chances.
Along with their hot night from beyond the arc, the Wildcats also shot 18-of-21 from the free throw line and outscored the Spartans 20-10 in points off turnovers.
Aside from Tabb, who shot 4-of-9 from the 3-point line, B-CU also got big performances from Forrest (16 points, five rebounds, four assists, four steals), Altidort (12 points, six rebounds, four assists) and Diamante Lewis (10 points, seven assists).
NSU hosts Howard next Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at Echols Hall for Senior Night and the last home game of the season.
Originally published at nsuspartans.com