HAWKS DROP REGULAR-SEASON FINALE TO DELAWARE STATE, 74-60
March 5, 2009
PRINCESS ANNE, Md. - Delaware State's Donald Johnson scored a career-high 31 points on 8-of-13 shooting as the Hornets defeated the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, 74-60, in the final game of the regular season at the William P. Hytche Athletic Center Thursday.
UMES junior forward Neal Pitt (Fort Washington, Md.) had 22 points and eight rebounds for the Hawks (7-22, 3-13 MEAC), who dropped their fourth consecutive game and enter the conference tournament next week as the 11 seed.
Fred Bouie (11) and Marcus Neal (10) also scored in double figures for the Hornets (8-23, 6-10), who snapped a four-game losing streak with the win and secured the No.-9 seed for the tournament in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Johnson was 6-for-9 from 3-point range to go along with 9-of-10 from the foul line for DSU, helping the Hornets shoot 51 percent for the game.
Gary Lee (Flint, Mich.) had 10 points and two rebounds for UMES in his final home game, while fellow seniors Aleksandar Popovic (Novi Sad Serbia) and Jarrod Randall (Finksburg, Md.) had five rebounds and two points and two boards, respectively.
"We had our opportunities and didn't capitalize when we needed to, but we fell behind again," said UMES head coach Frankie Allen. "We played well for a while, it's been the same story - we play well in spurts. We play well for three or four minutes then we just kind of lose it.
"We'll an untimely turnover, or miss an easy basket, or have a missed defensive assignment and seemed like all year long when we did those things our opponent always capitalized."
The Hawks held the lead for the better part of the opening 11 minutes of the game. UMES scored the first six points of the game behind a pair of jumpers from Pitt and a layup by Lee with less than four minutes gone.
After a Bouie three cut it to a 7-6 Hawks' advantage, Jaime Boyer (Philadelphia, Pa.) answered with one from long range to make it 10-6 with 12:19 left in the half. Boyer had nine points on the night, shooting 3-of-9 from the field with all three buckets coming from beyond the arc.
Johnson hit a three with 10:44 to play to trail by just one, 10-9, and he gave the Hornets their first lead at 13-12 with 8:36 remaining on a jumper.
The lead changed hands six more times finally settling with DSU when Trevor Welcher hit a three to make 23-21 with 3:44 before the half. Delaware State closed the half on a 14-6 to lead by a 37-27 margin at intermission.
The Hawks were down as many as 18 at 55-37 with less than 12 minutes remaining before they began to battle back. UMES engineered a 12-4 stretch to make it a 59-49 game with 6:27 to play. Three Hawks scored in the run, including Pitt who had eight.
Chris Conner (Powell, Tenn.) sank two free throws to get the deficit to single digits at 62-53 with 5:25 left, but Johnson and Welcher responded with a three and a layup respectively, over the next minute-and-a-half to extended the lead to 14 at 67-53.
UMES made one more run, getting it to nine once more at 67-58 with 3:06 remaining, but didn't convert another field goal the rest of the night.
UMES shot 39.1 percent, committed more turnovers (13-8) which lead to 19 Delaware State points. The Hawks won the rebounding battle, 37-26.