Derrik Jamerson Jr. had 14 points for the Spartans (7-16, 5-3 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference), who shot 55.6 percent from long distance (10 of 18) and 51 percent from the field. Thomas and Jamerson scored four 3s apiece.
Whitley's layup capped a 10-4 run for a 49-35 Norfolk State lead and the Spartans led by 17 on Jamerson's 3 with 12:31 to go. The Bears gained on a 9-2 run while the Spartans went without a field goal for nearly seven minutes, but trailed 74-65 on Tiwian Kendley's layup with 31 seconds to go and got no closer.
Preston Bungei's 3 put the Spartans up for good, 10-8, Thomas hit back-to-back 3s, and Norfolk State led 39-29 at halftime after shooting 61.5 percent from 3 (8 of 13).
No. 10 Kentucky working out kinks, hosts North Dakota
Tenth-ranked Kentucky returns to action Wednesday against North Dakota with coach John Calipari trying to move his basketball team forward by taking a huge step backward.
It's about a five-hour ride from Clinton, Miss., to Auburn, Ala., but the gap between the Mississippi College and Auburn on the hardwood is more like 5 million miles.
No. 1 Duke hears the noise, hosts Eastern Michigan
The noise could become louder for Duke.