DELAND, Fla. — Rivalry games in the midst of conference play add another element of excitement to the 2017-18 season.
On Monday, the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats and the Stetson Hatters took to the hardwood in the latest installment of the Volusia County Rivalry. Behind an offensive attack that saw four players score in double figures, the Wildcats never trailed and picked up the 74-62 road win over the Hatters.
It was the fifth straight win overall for the Wildcats, who have now matched their win total from all of last season (10).
Monday marked the 12th meeting since the 2007-08 season between the Hatters and Wildcats, with Stetson holding a 7-4 record over that span. The loss for Stetson was just their second over the last six meetings between the two schools.
Bethune-Cookman scored the first basket of the day, and with the exception of a 2-2 tie, they held a lead for the entirety of the contest.
Brandon Tabb led all scorers on the day with 18 points on 7-of-16 shooting from the floor. He added four steals and three assists in the win. Forward Soufiyane Diakite continued his strong play, posting his fourth straight double-double with 10 points and 15 rebounds.
Diakite is averaging 17.0 points and 13.75 rebounds per contest over his four game double-double streak.
Isaiah Bailey recorded 17 points and seven rebounds off the bench, while Shawntrez Davis added 17 points and six rebounds of his own.
For the Hatters, Leo Goodman led the way on offense with a team-high 17 points off the bench. He was 6-of-8 from the floor in 19 minutes of action. Divine Myles went for 13 points, six rebounds, and three assists in the loss.
B.J. Glasford finished with 11 points to round out the trio of Hatters in double figures.
In the opening minute, Tabb got the Wildcats on the board first with a dunk. On the next possession for the Hatters, Glasford hit a jumper to get Stetson on the board.
That was the last time that the Hatters and Wildcats would be tied.
Houston Smith got a second-chance opportunity to fall just before the halfway point of the first half to give the Wildcats a 10 point lead, at 17-7. Stetson kept things close down the stretch in the first frame, but Bethune-Cookman retook a 10-point lead before the break. A three pointer from Tabb with 19 seconds on the clock gave the Wildcats a 34-24 lead at the half.
In the second half, the Hatters scored the first five points out of the gate to cut the deficit in half. Myles hit a three pointer to get the second frame started, and Angel Rivera followed that with a layup. Malik Maitland responded with a three pointer of his own to get the visitors on the board.
The five-point deficit was as close as Stetson would get down the stretch. The Wildcats had an answer for whatever the Hatters threw at them, and they were able to cruise in the second half for the 74-62 win over their Volusia County rivals.
With the loss, Stetson (10-10, 2-1) saw their two game winning streak come to an end. They will look to match last season’s win total (11) on Thursday night when they head on the road for a date with the Kennesaw State Owls.
Bethune-Cookman (10-9, 4-0) extended their winning streak to five games on Monday. The win matched their total number of wins from all of last season. The Wildcats will look to extend their winning streak to six games on Saturday on the road against the Delaware State Hornets.
– T. Bennett