DURHAM, N.C. – Anthony McDonald scored a game-high 23 points, including the go-ahead three-pointer with 27 seconds left, to lift North Carolina Central University to a 55-54 win over Delaware State on Monday night.
An electrifying, near-capacity crowd inside McDougald-McLendon Gym energized the host Eagles from an eight-point second-half deficit to their 31st consecutive home victory, the third-longest home win streak in Division I men’s basketball.
A home court celebration seemed improbable when Delaware State senior guard Amere May was fouled in the act of attempting a three-pointer with 0.4 seconds left on the clock.
Needing two free throws to tie and all three to win, the 83 percent free-throw shooter toed the line and, with more than 3,000 fans roaring, calmly drained the first freebie.
After a timeout, May, who made all seven from the charity stripe up to this point, missed his second free throw and a chance to win in regulation. His last attempt, the potential game-tying free throw, also bounced off the rim, sending the fans to mid-court for a post-game party.
During NCCU’s game-changing 9-0 run, Jordan Parks deflected a pass, Jamal Ferguson tracked down the loose ball, and, while falling out of bounds, tossed a blind pass over his head to a wide open Parks, who brought down the house with a thunderous two-handed slam.
McDonald finished the night with four three-pointers and was a clutch 9-for-10 from the free-throw line to lead NCCU (16-5, 8-0 MEAC). Senior point guard Nimrod Hilliard, who left the game with an apparent knee injury, but returned to spark the Eagles’ comeback, finished with 13 points, five assists and two steals.
Delaware State (10-10, 4-2 MEAC) was topped by Tyshawn Bell with 13 points, while May ended with 12 points.