HAWKS UNABLE TO TAME WILDCATS IN SECOND-HALF, FALL TO WILMINGTON
Dec. 21, 2013
PRINCESS ANNE, Md. – Despite holding a lead for a majority of the game, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore men’s basketball was unable to keep it at the end, as the Hawks fell to Wilmington University, 65-62, on Saturday afternoon at the William P. Hytche Athletic Center. The loss is the first for UMES against a non-Division I opponent in the last 18 tries, a span that dated back to 1992.
UMES (2-7) held a nine-point lead with just over 10 minutes remaining in the game, but a furious rally by Wilmington (6-8) saw a layup by Valentino Thompson cap a 15-5 run and give WU a one-point advantage, 60-59, at the 2:26 mark. A made free-throw by the Hawks on the ensuing possession tied the game at 60, but it was as close as the Hawks would get, as Wilmington made their foul shots down the stretch to mark its first win over UMES in program history.
The Hawks and Wildcats engaged in a tight battle early on. The game saw five ties and numerous lead changes for the majority of the first half, before the Hawks closed the frame on a 12-4 run. A free-throw by senior Francis Ezeiru (Enugu, Nigeria) and two layups by junior Issac Smith III (Chicago, Ill.) and freshman Mark Blackmon (Charlotte, N.C.) provided UMES with the final five points of the half as they held a seven-point lead, 35-28, at intermission.
A quick charge out of the gates gave UMES a double-digit lead after a minute of second-half play, but nine unanswered points by the Wildcats across a two minute span brought the game to within one with just over 16 minutes left. UMES would grind its away across the next seven minutes as two points by Ezeiru gave the Hawks a nine-point lead with a little over ten minutes remaining.
The points were as good as it would get for the Hawks the rest of the way as the late push by the Wildcats was not answered by UMES. WU made five of its final six free-throws to ice the game.
The Hawks were paced by senior Troy Snyder (Chicago, Ill.), who had 14 points and eight rebounds. Senior Louis Bell (Washington, D.C.) had a season-high 15 points and two assists, while senior Francis Ezeiru (Enugu, Nigeria) was 7-of-9 for the floor with 14 points. Junior Ishaq Pitt (Brooklyn, N.Y.) had eight rebounds and four assists. The Hawks shot a season-low 52.6 percent from the free-throw line in 17 tries.
Wilmington saw five players notch double-digit point totals and had everyone that played record atleast one rebound. Herbert Dennis led the team with 11 points, five assists and four boards, while Shaq Monroe-Gaskins had 11 points and six boards. The team shot 54-percent from the field in the second-half and forced 11 Hawk turnovers.
UMES will take the seven days off for the Christmas break, before the Hawks host American on Sunday, Dec. 29 at 2 p.m. The
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