Hornets overcome deficit behind Young’s big game


Ephrem Tilahun

Trace Young’s 21 points led a late second-half rally that helped the Hornets beat the Bethune-Cookman University Wildcats 79-73.

Khalil Stewart, Assistant Sports Editor

Trace Young’s 21 points led a late second-half rally that helped the Hornets beat the Bethune-Cookman University Wildcats 79-73. The game took place in Mobile, Alabama, as part of the newly implemented Bridge Builder Classic. This was the first time these two schools have faced each other since 1984.

The Hornets were looking to get back in the win column after dropping their last two games against Texas Southern University and Prairie View Agricultural and Mechanical University. Young scored the first four points of the game for the Hornets. The Wildcats were scorching hot from the field as they jumped out to an early 20-12 lead forcing a Hornet timeout. After the break, sophomore guard Kenny Strawbridge scored a quick bucket to keep the team within striking distance. This was followed by junior forward Christian McCray, who made an immediate impact after making his first four shots.

However, Wildcat guard Joe French added to their lead as he poured in five threes and gave his team a 27-21 lead. To close out the first half, the Wildcat’s offense continued to pick the Hornets’ defense apart, giving them a 38-30 halftime lead. Hornets guard E.J. Clark scored five quick points to cut the lead to seven to start the second half. Teammates Young and Strawbridge aided him to make the score 46-41.

Each time the Hornets began to make an offensive run, French responded with a bucket of his own. The Hornets’ defense began to trap the guard. Unfortunately, this did not help as the other Wildcat guard Marcus Garrett began to make a scoring impact. Offensively, the Hornets were able to get O’Neal post-up opportunities, which brought the Wildcats into foul trouble. Young began to heat up midway through the second half after knocking in back-to-back threes 65-60.

The Wildcats were forced to call a timeout. After the break, senior guard Kevion Stewart checked in for the Hornets and made an immediate impact. After a chase-down block from Young, Clark rebounded the ball and located Stewart on the wing for a three-point shot giving the Hornets a 66-65 lead. The Hornets never trailed again. They drew fouls and went on to win the game 79-73.

With this victory, the Hornets moved to (4-4) in Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) play. They will take on Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University on Jan. 31 in Montgomery, Alabama, in the Dunn-Oliver Acadome. This will be a tough matchup for the Hornets as the Rattlers rank No. 1 in the SWAC East division.