Updated: Thursday, 29 Nov 2012, 11:23 PM EST
Published : Thursday, 29 Nov 2012, 11:19 PM EST
NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - Rob Johnson and Jamel Fuentes scored 18 points apiece to bring Norfolk State back from a nine-point second-half deficit and beat St. Francis (N.Y.) 85-79 on Thursday night.
Brandon Goode had 13 points, Kris Brown 12 and Malcolm Hawkins 10 for Norfolk State (3-5), the defending Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champion, in its home opener.
Jalen Cannon had 16 points and nine rebounds, Akeem Johnson scored 15 and Ben Mockford 13 for St. Francis (2-3).
St. Francis led 54-45 on Cannon's layup 5:45 into the second half, but Norfolk State closed to 66-63 on Johnson's 3-pointer with 8:15 remaining.
The Spartans took a 67-66 lead on Johnson's two free throws. They pushed it to 73-70 on Fuentes' layup at 4:29 and 78-70 on Malcolm Hawkins's three-point play at 2:52. Brent Jones' 3-pointer pulled the Terriers to 83-79 with 23 seconds left, but they came no closer.
Saturday, Norfolk State plays a MEAC road game against the pre-season pick to win the conference, Savannah State.
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