HAWKS BEND BUT DON'T BREAK IN WIN OVER N.C. A&T
Feb. 1, 2014
PRINCESS ANNE, Md. - The University of Maryland Eastern Shore men's basketball team came up clutch when it mattered the most on Saturday afternoon as the Hawks held off a furious second-half charge by North Carolina A&T to claim victory, 67-63, at the William P. Hytche Athletic Center. The win was the third of the year at home for UMES as the Hawks delighted a home crowd of over 2,000 strong.
UMES led coast-to-coast in the game to up its record to 3-15, 1-5 in the MEAC on the year. North Carolina A&T goes to 7-15, 3-4 in the MEAC with the loss.
The Hawks held a 27-point lead with 15 minutes to go in the game, but an 18-1 run by the Aggies brought the contest to within nine points, 53-44, with nine to go. The Aggie push continued as they moved to within two points at the 3:45 mark, but UMES would not be stopped down the stretch. UMES used a dunk by freshman Hakeem Baxter (Philadelphia, Pa.) to electrify the crowd and swing the momentum. UMES missed just one shot in the final minute of play, including a 4-for-4 from the free-throw line.
UMES raced out to an 8-0 lead in the game after four minutes of play. The Hawk lead would inch its way to 12 points minutes later, before the team scored 10 unanswered points across a five-minute span to take a commanding advantage, 31-9, at the 6:21 mark. UMES used a 12-3 difference in points off turnovers in the frame as the Hawks led by 16 points, 37-21, at the half.
The Hawks shot 54-percent from the floor in the first 20 minutes. Baxter had a game-high 15 points at the break and held a 17-16 advantage in rebounds, seven of which were grabbed by senior Francis Ezeiru (Enugu, Nigeria).
The men opened the second on a 15-4 push as they used a layup by junior Ishaq Pitt (Brooklyn, N.Y.) to take a 27-point lead, 52-27, with 15 minutes left. The aforementioned swing in momentum would occur following the points as N.C. A&T scored the game's next 13 points. The Hawks would bend but not break the rest of the way and UMES claimed its first MEAC victory of the season.
Baxter led the Hawks in the game by scoring 26 points behind a 12-of-13 effort from the free-throw line. The freshman scored four of the final eight points for the team as he tallied the second most points of his collegiate career. Junior KyRee Jones (Indianapolis, Ind.) had 16 points and three assists in 40 minutes of action, while senior Troy Snyder (Chicago, Ill.) had 12 points and six boards.
UMES outrebounded the Aggies 33-30 altogether and had six players notch assists in the game.
North Carolina A&T was led by Bruce Beckford, who had 10 points and nine boards. Rishaud Pack scored 21 points and dished out three assists, while Lamont Middleton had nine points, four rebounds and two assists. The Aggies were a force in the paint with a 30-18 advantage under the hoop.
The maroon and gray look to continue their winning ways against North Carolina Central in the second game of the home-stand on Monday, Feb. 3 at 7:30 p.m.
For complete recaps, results and news of Hawk athletics, please visit www.umeshawks.com