NORFOLK, Va. – Norfolk State led wire to wire, and the Spartans men’s basketball team finished out the regular season with a 72-51 win over St. Mary’s College (Md.) on Sunday afternoon at Joseph Echols Hall.
Senior Devante Carter made 8-of-12 from the floor for an 18-point performance, helping the Spartans shoot 51 percent from the floor. They forced St. Mary’s into 20 turnovers to improve to 14-7 on the year.
NSU will next compete in the MEAC Tournament, which begins on March 11 at Norfolk Scope Arena. The program will learn its seeding in the tournament after the conclusion of the league’s regular season this week.
Carter was one of three NSU players in double figures along with junior Jalen Hawkins (11) and senior Kyonze Chavis (10). Carter scored the first bucket of the game on NSU’s second possession, and the Spartans never looked back.
He and Chavis combined to score nine straight points for the Spartans as they led by seven in the early going. Senior Mustafa Lawrence hit his first of two 3-pointers to push the lead to eight, although they went nearly four minutes without a score. But the Spartans scored nine straight points for a 14-point lead, 28-14.
Senior J.J. Matthews knocked down his first field goal of the game and made 1-of-2 from the free throw line to help his squad take a 35-22 lead into the half.
Senior Kashaun Hicks made a pair from the line early in the second half, and Carter had two more field goals close to the rim as the Spartans went ahead by 19 just four minutes into the second period. The Seahawks scored the next seven points, but Chavis and Hawkins each hit 3-pointers as NSU surged ahead by more than 20.
The team’s largest lead came at the midway point of the half when Lawrence made his second 3-pointer of the game for a 24-point advantage, 60-36. St. Mary’s got as close as 16 the rest of the way.
The Spartans outscored the Seahawks 36-12 in points in the paint and 11-2 in second-chance points. Junior Joe Bryant Jr. added nine points and a game-high nine rebounds as NSU held a 36-26 edge on the glass.
Micah Henry led St. Mary’s College with 24 points on 11-of-18 shooting, with 22 points coming in the second half. The Seahawks shot 40 percent overall.