Delaware State ends NC Central’s 36-game conference winning streak, NCAA tournament hopes

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Clock has already struck midnight for North Carolina Central, as the Eagles joined a growing list of potential Cinderellas who won’t go dancing this march.

The Eagles were upset by Delaware State, 63-57, in the MEAC Tournament semifinals, snapping a 36-game winning streak within the league. The Eagles were 46-2 in the last three seasons, reaching the program’s first NCAA tournament in 2014.

NC Central joins Iona, Green Bay and most likely Murray State as teams that were bounced early from the conference tournament, dashing hopes of hearing their names called on Selection Sunday.

As the regular season champion, the Eagles will receive an automatic bid to the NIT.

The Hornets overcame a six-point deficit with under five to go to take a four-point lead with less than a minute in regulation. The Eagles were able to force a stop following a Nimrod Hilliard bucket. With 22 seconds to go, Dante Homles got into the lane, but his late-game heroics was thwarted by a charge.

NC Central made headlines earlier in the conference tournament a boastful press release after a 91-43 win over Coppin State.

Delaware State will take on Hampton (15-17) in the MEAC final.