The Norfolk State Spartans failed to exorcize the demon that has become Delaware State on Wednesday night.
Now they need help if they are to win the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference’s regular-season title.
And the Spartans will probably have a nightmare or two about the six-point lead they blew in the game’s last three minutes.
They will lament the 10-1 run they allowed the Hornets to make to start overtime.
Delaware State ended up winning 73-63. But from the looks on the Spartans’ faces, the Hornets won this game when Tahj Tate rebounded a missed 3-pointer by teammate Casey Walker and banked home the stickback with 1.4 seconds remaining to force the overtime with the game tied at 59.
“I think we were really deflated by that tip-in,” Spartans coach Anthony Evans said. “It really got to us.”
After the Spartans’ Pendarvis Williams missed a 3-point attempt to start overtime, Walker canned a trey at the other end that took any remaining wind out of the Spartans’ lungs.
“That tip-in by Tate, it was as if the play happened in slow motion,” said Brandon Wheeless, who took the blame for not boxing Tate out. “I can see him going by me, see him going up, see him sticking it back. After that, we played in a daze.”
Norfolk State (18-9, 10-3) now trails 9-2 Savannah State.
The Spartans, who beat Savannah State this season, own the tiebreaker over the Tigers. But Delaware State (12-11, 9-3), by virtue of its two-game season sweep of Norfolk State, owns the tiebreaker over the Spartans.