UMES WINS SECOND STRAIGHT, 66-63, OVER SOUTH CAROLINA STATE
Head coach Frankie Allen and UMES have won back-to-back games and three consecutive at the Hytche Center.
Head coach Frankie Allen and UMES have won back-to-back games and three consecutive at the Hytche Center.

Jan. 13, 2009

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PRINCESS ANNE, Md. - The University of Maryland Eastern Shore men's basketball team earned its second consecutive win, 66-63, over South Carolina State at the William P. Hytche Athletic Center Monday.

With the win, UMES (3-9, 1-1 MEAC), after winning Saturday against Winston-Salem State, picked back-to-back victories for the first time since Feb. 9-11, 2008 over Howard and Hampton. SCSU dropped to 6-7 and 1-1 in the conference with the loss. The win was also the first against SCSU since Feb. 16, 2004.

Junior Neal Pitt (Fort Washington, Md.) scored a team-high 17 points and had six rebounds, while Jaime Boyer (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Sammy Obetoh (Brooklyn, N.Y.) had 10 apiece.

"I thought it was tremendous win for us," said UMES head coach Frankie Allen. "We made the plays we had to down the stretch and I tell you what, the kids are talking about earning some respect within the league. And to win back-to-back Saturday-Monday games this early in the year ... speaks volumes for the kind of effort the team is putting in."

The Bulldogs took their largest lead less than six minutes into the first half on a Jimmy Williams 3-pointer, but the Hawks scored the game's next eight point to take 16-13 advantage with 11:36 to go before halftime on a Tyler Hines (Sicklerville, N.J.) baseline jumper.

Gary Lee (Flint, Mich.) extended the Hawks' lead to 24-19 with 4:28 to play with a layup and UMES carried a 27-24 advantage into the break.

SCSU opened the second half on an 8-1 run to regain the lead, 32-28, with less than three minutes gone on a pair of free throws by Jason Johnson. Johnson had game highs of 24 points and 11 boards.

UMES responded scoring seven unanswered, finishing that skein on a jumper by Josh Bright (Salisbury, Md.) for a 35-32 edge with under 14 minutes left.

The Bulldogs battled back to tie the game at 38 when Williams converted the second of two from the foul line at the 9:31 mark before the Hawks began an 8-0 run, punctuated by an Obetoh dunk with 8:15 to play, for a 46-38 lead. Pitt tallied six points in the stretch on a 3-pointer and three-point play.

The lead grew to 10, 56-46, on an Obetoh layup with 2:59 remaining, but the Bulldogs wouldn't go quietly. A Julius Carter layup with 42 seconds left cut it to 63-60 game.

Carrio Bennett missed a three with a half-minute to play and Boyer seemed to have iced the game with pair from the line, but Johnson made good on a three-point play with 10 second left.

That was as close as SCSU got as Pitt hit one last free throw to account for the final margin.

Both teams shot 21-for-55 (38.2 percent) from the field and each had 20 turnovers. UMES had four more rebounds, 41-37.

The Hawks ran their home record to 3-1, winning three consecutive after dropping their home opener to Longwood in November.

"Hopefully we can continue to do this on the road - the road is a real test," Allen said. "There are no easy games on the road on in the MEAC ... but I think the kids know how to stay focused and go on the road and win."

UMES will have that opportunity Jan. 17 when it travels to Greensboro, N.C. for a 4 p.m. tip at North Carolina A&T.