Paul Scotland gave the Wildcats (12-17, 7-7) a 59-57 lead with a three-pointer with 1:55 left to play, but Rashid Gaston tied it all at 59 with a layup seconds later.
B-CU cut the deficit to one point after Scotland fed Adrien Coleman in the post for a layup. The Wildcats had one more chance to win it after NSU's Pendarvis Williams missed both free throws with six seconds to play. However, due to Norfolk State's intense defense, the Wildcats never even got off a shot before the buzzer.
Williams led NSU with 14 points and Hawkins finished with 13 points. Fuentes added 10 points in the victory, while Gaston had 10 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
Scotland paced Bethune-Cookman with a game-high 16 points. Kevin Dukes and Coleman each added 12 points for the Wildcats, who shot 34.5 percent from the floor and collected 45 rebounds.
Leading 27-22 at the half, Norfolk State jumped out to its largest lead off the game, 31-22 when Hawkins and Fuentes started off the second half with a short jumper and two free throws respectively.
B-CU refused to roll over, though, ripping off a 12-3 run with points from several players to knot the score 34-all with 14:51 to play. The Wildcats got their first lead of the second half, 41-40, on Ricky Johnson's layup with 11:22 to play.
Norfolk State hosts Florida A&M Monday at 7:30 p.m. with the chance to clinch the MEAC title outright if NCCU falls to South Carolina State.
Due to the staggered scheduling of the MEAC's 13-team conference, the Spartans won't face North Carolina Central in the regular season.
Stanton Kidd and Ray Willis each scored 10 points to help the Eagles (20-8, 13-1 MEAC) avenge a crucial February loss to the Tigers (17-12, 10-4), at McDougald-McLendon Gymnasium in Durham.
NCCU lost 44-36 to Savannah State on Feb. 16 for the Eagles' only conference loss, leaving them a game behind Norfolk State.
Aside from vengeance, North Carolina Central also clinched its first 20-win season since 1996-97 when the school still played in NCAA Division II. Overall, it is the school's 16th 20-win season since 1927.
Despite shooting 29 percent from the floor (18-46), the Tigers kept the game close and knotted the score 40-all on Khiry White's jumper with 4:46 left in regulation.
Emanuel Chapman hit two consecutive layups and Willis dropped a three-pointer to put the Eagles up 47-42 with 28 seconds left.
Savannah State cut the deficit to 47-45 on Patrick Hendley's trey, but Willis made two free throws and Alfonzo Houston put an exclamation point on the win with a rim-rattling dunk.
Preston Blackman led Savannah State and all scorers with 13 points, but hit just six of 17 field goals and was the Tigers' only double-digit scorer.
Delaware State 56, Howard 53
Hampton 77, Florida A&M 68
Morgan State 58, Maryland-Eastern Shore 45
North Carolina A&T 58, South Carolina State 35
Utah Valley 76, Chicago State 69
Tennessee State 85, Eastern Kentucky 81 (OT)
Alabama State 74, Grambling State 62
Jackson State 60, Alabama A&M 57
Southern 61, Prairie View A&M 39
Texas Southern 78, Alcorn State 59
Bowie State 85, Livingstone 74
Benedict 68, Morehouse 60
Gulf Coast Athletic Conference championship
Philander Smith 65, Dillard 45
Voorhees 80, Cal State-San Marcos 66