NORFOLK, Va. - After a slow start, the Norfolk State men's basketball team turned it on to the tune of a 78-58 win over Shenandoah in the Spartans' home opener on Sunday evening at Joseph Echols Hall. In a contest delayed more than an hour because of transportation trouble from Shenandoah, NSU showed the rust from the longer than expected wait. The Spartans trailed for almost eight minutes in the first half before extending its lead to double digits. The Hornets never got closer than 13 in the second half before the Spartans completely pulled away.
NSU (1-1), which debuted its new video board system in Echols on Sunday night in front of a crowd of 3,018, again got strong games from junior Zaynah Robinson and senior Jonathan Wade. Robinson led NSU in scoring for the second game in a row with 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting. He also added seven assists, six rebounds and two steals.
Wade, meanwhile, tallied 15 points on 5-of-8 from the floor and hit all three of his 3-point attempts to go with four boards. In addition, senior Carrington Ward scored 15 points off the bench, also on 5-of-8 shooting, with five rebounds, two assists and two blocks. Kaimonne Douglas (20 points) and Malcolm Clark (17 points, nine rebounds) led the way for Shenandoah, which remained at 0-0 on the year as the game did not count toward its season record.
The Spartans shot 10-of-24 from 3-point range while holding Shenandoah to a 4-of-19 effort. The Hornets made up for it by hitting 18-of-30 from the free throw line, while NSU only had 14 attempts at the charity stripe all night. Both teams were slow out of the gate getting their offense going. NSU fell behind by five before Robinson hit a couple of tough layups to momentarily give the Spartans the lead with eight and a half minutes left in the half. After the Hornets retook the lead with three free throws, Robinson drained a 3-pointer to finally spark the Spartan offense.
NSU started a five-minute, 16-3 run with that bucket that extended its lead to 32-21 with a little more than two minutes left in the half. Junior Kyle Williams nailed a trey and threw down a fastbreak dunk to close out the scoring for the Spartans in the half. NSU went into the break ahead 37-26.
The Spartans then scored the first six points of the second half to open a 17-point advantage. The Hornets cut the deficit to 13 twice after that, the latter at 51-38 with 11:11 left on Kwa McDonald's layup. That was all she wrote for Shenandoah, as NSU used a 15-4 run for its biggest lead of the game at 24 points. Wade hit a 3-pointer with 4:57 left to cap that run and put the Spartans ahead 66-42, and they cruised the rest of the way.
The Spartans connected on 29-of-58 overall for the game, while the Hornets shot just 18-of-55 (32.7 percent). NSU also held a 40-32 edge on the glass, with sophomore Alex Long tallying eight boards with nine points. Williams came off the bench to score seven points with six rebounds, three steals, two assists and two blocks. Junior Alex Brown also added seven points. Junior Dan Robinson had three blocks, helping the Spartans to an 8-1 advantage there. The Spartans outscored Shenandoah 19-6 in fastbreak points as well.