Feb. 16, 2009


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PRINCESS ANNE, Md. - Freshman Jaime Boyer (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Chris Conner (Powell, Tenn.) combined to shoot 10-for-13 from 3-point range and junior Neal Pitt (Fort Washington, Md.) had 21 points and 16 rebounds as the University of Maryland Eastern Shore topped Norfolk State, 83-81, at the William P. Hytche Athletic Center Monday.

The win for UMES (7-18, 3-9 MEAC) snapped a six-game losing streak and ties the Hawks for their most victories in a season since 2005-06. The loss for Norfolk State (8-15, 6-6) is its second straight.

Up, 76-67, with 1:15 to play, Norfolk's Michael Deloach (game-high 25 points, six rebounds) hit a layup to cut it to a five-point margin. After a Josh Bright (Salisbury, Md.) free throw, Deloach drained a three with 65 seconds to play to make it a 77-72 game.

Kevin Worsley stole the ball from Marc Davis (Baltimore, Md.) on the ensuing possession and was fouled. He knocked down a pair from the line before Pitt answered with a layup. A free throw from Aleek Pauline and another bucket from Deloach cut the lead to just two at 79-77 with 39 seconds left. Boyer came back with a free throw of his own but the Hawks weren't out of the woods yet.

Deloach hit a pair from the line to make it a one-point game, 80-79, with seven seconds left. Davis then converted 1-of-2, giving the Hawks a two-point bulge and Deloach hit yet another clutch shot in the lane to knot the game at 81 in the waning seconds.

Pitt then drew a foul from Kyle O'Quinn and tallied two more from the line for to ensure the win.

"We found a way to hold on and win there at the end," said UMES head coach Frankie Allen, "but let's give Norfolk a lot of credit. Every time it seemed like we would get a little bit of a cushion, one of those guys would hit a big shot or they'd take it to the basket, they would find a way to score and they just kept coming back at us.

"We're kind of desperate for a win and Norfolk wasn't making it easy for us," Allen added.

Boyer had a career-high 23 on six treys while Conner added 17 for the Hawks who shot 72 percent from the field in the second half and 66.7 percent from beyond the arc for the game. Three other Spartans had double digits, including Corey Lyons with 17 (16 in the second half).

UMES built a 38-28 lead with less than three minutes gone in the second half, but it was whittled to one two minutes later on an 11-2 NSU run.

Conner responded with one of his four threes and Boyer followed, collecting five straight points to push the lead back to nine, 48-39, with 13:23 to go.

Leading, 63-54 with 7:01 remaining, Worsley hit a jumper and Deloach a layup on consecutive trips make it a five-point game at 63-58 with 6:13 left.

Still, UMES seemed to be in control as Pitt scored a layup and Bright had a three-point play with under five minutes on the clock. The Hawks carried the advantage through to the final minute-plus and were able to hold out for the victory.

"Hopefully were able to learn how hard you have to play and how physically, mentally and emotionally strong you've got to be," Allen said. "Mavbe we can take that away [from this game]. If we made a few more free throws, we could've maybe breathed a lot easier but we defended the last play and came away with a good win."

UMES led most of the first half, only falling behind on the first basket of the game, and opened its biggest lead at 30-19 with 2:59 to play. The Hawks cruised into the break with a 32-25 lead.

Pitt's double-double is his eighth of the season. He was 8-of-16 and 5-of-9 from the line. As a team, UMES shot 15-for-31 (48.4 percent) from the stripe.

UMES shot 49.2 percent for the game from the floor (29-of-59), while NSU was 24-for-51 (47.1 percent). The Hawks held a rebounding edge, 42-40, and had more bench points (24-12) and points off turnovers (21-19).

UMES travels to Florida A&M Saturday at 4 p.m.



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