Norfolk State used a 28-9 second-half run to slip past St. Francis (N.Y.) 85-79 in its home opener Thursday in Norfolk, Va.
Trailing 61-50 with 12:08 to play, the Spartans (3-5) went on a 10-2 run to cut the margin to three. After St. Francis' Aleksandar Isailovic hit a 3-pointer made it a 66-60 game, Norfolk State scored the next seven points to take the lead.
The Terriers (2-3) got a layup from Brent Jones, but Norfolk State scored the next four points to retake a lead it would never relinquish. The Spartans increased their edge to 78-70 on a Malcolm Hawkins layup and free throw with 2:52 to play. The Terriers never came closer than four points the rest of the way.
All five Spartans starters finished in double figures, led by Jamel Fuentes and Rob Johnson, who had 18 points apiece. Fuentes added nine assists and six rebounds.
Jalen Cannon led St. Francis with 16 points and a game-high nine rebounds.
Norfolk State entered the day on a four-game losing streak, but all four were on the road or at neutral sites.
Before the game, the Spartans received their 2011-12 MEAC championship rings and unfurled the banner celebrating last season's conference title and NCAA berth.
St. Francis led 37-36 at halftime.