HAWKS EVEN SERIES WITH DELAWARE STATE TO NOTCH FIRST WIN OF SEASON
"We wanted this one," said Head Coach Frankie Allen. "That is what it takes to win games," Allen continued. UMES won its first game of the season Saturday, coming in the third game of the 2013 season.
The Hawks led the entire game, with its largest lead of 15 points coming with 15:19 in the second half. Donald Williams II had a breakaway drive to the lane, and finished with a dunk to capitalize on the steal by Ishaq Pitt.
UMES entered the half with a 25-18 lead, managing its largest lead of the half following two free throws by Olatunji Kosile. Kosile made his second attempt, giving UMES an eight-point lead.
The Hawks made 30-of-40 free throws, with Mays making 93-percent (13-of-14) of his attempts. Mays made just two of his shots from the field. He grabbed seven rebounds, only second to Ezeiru who finished with a game-high nine rebounds.
Coming out of the break, the Hawks steadily increased its lead to double digits within 30 seconds of the second half. Mays made two free throws to give UMES a 13-point advantage (31-18), and managed to stay within a point of that lead until Williams' dunk.
Williams continued a spark in the UMES offense that spanned more than seven minutes of play. It would not be until 7:47 remained in the second half that Delaware State brought the game within a single-digit deficit (41-33).
Mays would convert a dunk at 7:07, lifting UMES to a double-digit lead (45-33) and igniting a second run for the Hawks. Delaware State knocked down 11 points to trail UMES by just three points (47-44).
With the Hawks on its heels, UMES defended the Hornets to hold at least a five-point advantage for the last two minutes of the contest. Mays would again make two free throws, lifting UMES to a 53-46 lead with 30 seconds remaining in the game.
UMES would hold out the Hornets in the final 20 seconds to clinch its first win of the season. "A 600-pound gorilla was lifted off our back," said Coach Allen. "We know we can win, we just have to keep it rolling," Allen concluded.
Mays led all scorers with 17 points, while Pitt, Ezeiru and Troy Snyder each tallied 10 points. Ezeiru had a game-high nine rebounds.
The Hawks return to action January 26 to face Florida A&M, followed by Bethune-Cookman on January 28 as part of its Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference southern division opponents.