UMES FALLS TO S.C. STATE IN FINAL GAME OF 11-DAY ROAD TRIP
Jan. 9, 2014
ORANGEBURG, S.C. – The University of Maryland Eastern Shore men’s basketball team fell in the final game of its four-game road trip on Wednesday night, as the Hawks were upended by South Carolina State, 78-71, at Smith Hammond Middleton Memorial Center. The decision drops the Hawks to 2-12 (0-2 MEAC) on the season, while SCSU raises its record to 5-9 (1-0 MEAC).
Junior KyRee Jones (Indianapolis, Ind.) was 9-of-10 from the free-throw line to take over the longest consecutive free-throws made streak in the MEAC this season. Before missing his fifth opportunity, he had made 20 consecutive free-throws, two more than the closest active streak. He finished with 20 points and chipped in with four assists in a game-high 37 minutes.
Freshman Hakeem Baxter (Philadelphia, Pa.) scored a game-high 23 points behind a 9-for-14 performance from the floor, while junior Ishaq Pitt (Brooklyn, N .Y.) and junior Isaac Smith III (Chicago, Ill.) each had seven points and three steals. UMES posted a season-high 11 steals, but were outrebounded 34-28 in the match.
UMES opened the scoring in the game with a jumper by senior Francis Ezeiru (Enugu, Nigeria), before South Carolina State went on a 10-3 run over the next three minutes of action. UMES would stay down by two possessions for the next several minutes but ten unanswered points by the Bulldogs pushed their lead to 16, 28-12, with 10:46 left in the first.
The SCSU advantage would stay in double digits for the next four minutes of action, before the Hawks used scoring from three different players to tally a 9-1 run and bring the score to 38-29. The final three minutes of the half were relatively silent as South Carolina State held a 10 point advantage, 40-30, at intermission. UMES turned the ball over 11 times in the frame, but held the Bulldogs without a field goal for the final nine minutes.
The two teams would engage in a stalemate for the first five minutes of the second-half. UMES inched its way back in it courtesy of an 8-3 push to bring the game to within seven, 49-42, with 11:31 remaining. SCSU upped its advantage to 12 points minutes later on a three by Adama Adams, but an old-fashioned three-point play by Baxter capped five unanswered Hawk points to make the score 57-50.
Two more points by Baxter brought the score to within five with 4:56 to go, but it was close at the team would get the rest of the way. UMES was unable to bring it to within a single possession as SCSU limited its turnovers and made its free-throws down the stretch to post a win in its MEAC opener. The Hawks outscored the Bulldogs by three, 41-38, in the second half.
SCSU was paced by Matthew Hezekiah’s double-double with 16 points and 10 boards. Adama Adams and Jalen White each had 14 points and two assists, while Daryll Palmer had seven rebounds. The team shot 55-percent from the floor in the game and forced 18 turnovers.
UMES has now lost 10 in a row after beginning the season 2-2. The men have also lost in their past 10 trips to Orangeburg, a streak that holds true since 1998.
The Hawks will look to get back in the win column when they return home to host Norfolk State on Saturday, Jan. 11 at 4 p.m. The game with be UMES’ last home game until the first week of February.
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