PRINCESS ANNE, MD - A late game three pointer from beyond half-court by Ishaq Pitt was not enough to lift the University of Maryland Eastern Shore over Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference foe Norfolk State Saturday. The Hawks fell 63-58 to the Spartans, and fell to 0-13 overall. UMES lost its second MEAC contest of the year.
The Hawks shot 11-percent better than Norfolk State (44-33) from the field, and posted a season-high 38 points in the paint. Kevin Mays scored a career-high 27 points on 10-of-12 (.833) shooting, and finished with the Hawks first double-double performance of the season with 10 rebounds.
Mays scored two free throws with 11 minutes remaining in the second half to bring UMES within five points (38-33) of Norfolk State. He would get a steal minutes later for UMES. Teammate Ishaq Pitt converted a layup in the paint for the Hawks following the steal. Norfolk State would push the lead to a 10-point advantage (46-37) with just under eight minutes remaining in the game.
Francis Ezeiru made two free throws, bringing UMES back within a single-digit deficit. Mays would produce back-to-back layups, and score 10 points in less than three minutes to bring UMES within five points (56-51) at 2:56.
Mays would score with 2:13 and 1:49 left in the game. His basket of the night brought UMES to within two points (56-54) of Norfolk State, its closest point differential since 14:14 in the first half. He would make 1-of-2 free throws, giving the Spartans an opportunity to put the game a bit further out of reach.
Three consecutive made free throws from Norfolk State pushed its
lead to six points, while its defense kept UMES from scoring the last 30
seconds of the game. With a second remaining in the contest, Pitt
received the ball five yards from the half-court line and heaved an
attempt. As the buzzer to end regulation sounded, the nets swished and
the referees confirmed the basket.
For the first time in 13 games, UMES held an advantage in points scored in the paint (38), steals (11) and its second best night shooting from the field (.449). UMES grabbed 42 rebounds to Norfolk State's 39, but struggled from behind the arc and at the free-throw line. The Hawks made just 11-of-25 free-throw attempts, with Mays having the best outing of any UMES student-athlete.
At the half, UMES and Norfolk State had scored 22 and 15 points, respectively, before scoring a combined 84 (48-36, NSU) points in the second half.
UMES will attempt to redeem itself January 19 when it hosts Delaware State University. The Hawks dropped an earlier contest (Dec. 1) with the Hornets.