Skip to main content

Howard Bison Vanquish Delaware State Hornets To Repeat As The MEAC Men's Basketball Champions, Head To NCAA Tournament

Howard University defeats Delaware State for the 2023-24 MEAC Men's Basketball Championship.
  • Author:
  • Publish date:

The Bison of Howard University are the 2024 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Men's Basketball Champion after defeating the Hornets of Delaware State University in a nailbiter of a finale with a final score of 70-67.

The Bison claimed their second championship title in the last three seasons and clinch the MEAC's automatic bid to the NCAA Championship Tournament. Howard will learn their future opponent tomorrow, Sunday, March 17, on selection Sunday when the NCAA releases the bracket live on CBS at 6:00 P.M. EST.

Jordan Hairston had 18 points to lift Howard to a 70-67 win over a scabby Delaware State team Saturday to win its second consecutive Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) title and earn a return trip to the NCAA Basketball Champion against an opponent to be determined.

Howard Bison defeat Delaware State for the 2023-24 MEAC Men's Basketball Championship; Credit: Nick Sutton, MEAC

The NCAA Selection Show will be conducted Sunday at 6 p.m. on CBS.

The Bison, the tourney’s fourth seed, also got 16 points each from Seth Towns and Bryce Harris, and 15 from Marcus Dockery in the win. Howard improved to 18-16 on the year.

Towns also pulled down eight boards to tie for game rebounding honors in the win, while Harris added seven boards and Isiah Warfield six in the win.

The Hornets, who had played the role of “giant-killer” with wins over third-seeded South Carolina State and North Carolina Central, the second seed, was led by Jevin Muniz with 24 points and Martaz Robinson with 16, along with eight rebounds and three assists in the loss. The Hornets ended their season at 15-18.

Delaware State was in the MEAC finals for the first time since 2015 and was seeking its first tournament title since the 2005 campaign. Howard will be making its second straight appearance in the “Big Dance.” The Bison lost to Kansas last season.

Howard took an early 19-9 lead in the game with 13:54 on the first-half clock and took a 40-34 lead at the half. The Hornets, who had come from behind in their earlier wins in the quarterfinals and semifinals, made another comeback and seized a 42-40 edge with just under 17 minutes left, before Harris, who had been limited to just four free throws in the opening half, got his first field goal of the game with 16:22 on the clock to give his team a 44-42 cushion.

The Bison increased their lead to 47-42 but Muniz led a Hornet charge that gave his team a 50-49 edge with 13:10 showing. Delaware State grabbed a 55-49 lead with a 5-0 spree with 10:50 remaining but the seesaw battle continued and was deadlocked at 56-all after Harris made one of two from the line for Howard with 7:26 to play.

Following three ties, the last at 60-60 with 4:39 on the clock, Delaware State went over four minutes without a point as Howard took a 66-60 lead, one it would not relinquish. Delaware State could only get to within two, 68-66, the rest of the way.

Howard’s Blakeney praised the play of Coach Stan Waterman’s Hornet squad and the fight the underdogs brought to the contest, and lauded the play of his team, especially Harris down the stretch.

“First of all, I’d like to give kudos to Coach Stan Waterman and his team,” Blakeney said. “In all of my years of coaching and being around basketball, I have not seen a season like this. We used 13 different lineups due to injuries and COVID.

“We really shot the 3-point basket well in the first half, but they made adjustments at the half,” he continued. “This allowed Bryce more room inside and that proved to be very effective for us down the stretch.”

Waterman praised his team’s effort and noted the experience of Howard, which he said was key in the outcome of the contest.

“A huge factor was the experience of Howard,” Waterman said. “They have been here before. My hats off to Coach Blakeney and his team and we wish them well in the NCAA playoffs.”