Hawks take down Hornets at home
PRINCESS ANNE, Maryland -
On senior night at the William P. Hytche Athletic Center, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore was without one if its Big Three in senior co-captain Devin Martin (Baltimore, Maryland), who missed the contest with an injury.
But facing the Hornets for the second time this season – and looking for some payback for a 75-71 loss in Dover – the Hawks found offense in other places putting together one of their more balanced efforts of the season in a 74-65 victory.
“Devin plays a big role in what we do, but we know we have some guys on the bench who play hard and give us the effort that we need to play and to win,” head coach Bobby Collins said.
With Martin out of the lineup and Bakari Copeland (Decatur, Georgia) finishing with just six points and five rebounds, the Hawks (9-21, 6-9 MEAC) still got a big game from Dominique Elliott, but they needed others to step up as well.
That became a group effort, but it was Ryan Andino (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) who got hot early hitting 4-of-8 from behind the arc in the first half and putting up a team-high 12 points before the break.
“Dino got off to a great start,” Collins said. “We knew we had Dom (Elliott), so he was like money in the bank once we got the lead. To keep the lead we went inside to him. He had some bad turnovers down the stretch, but this team just played hard.”
Dominique Elliott (Savannah, Georgia) had just six points and three rebounds at the half, but took the team on his shoulders in the second half finishing with 20 points, six rebounds two assists and seven turnovers in 35 minutes. He finished the game a solid 8-of-11 from the free throw line where he had been struggling lately.
Maryland Eastern Shore build a 41-32 halftime lead, but the Hornets (7-22, 5-9 MEAC) maintained striking distance despite 12 first-half turnovers and shooting 44 percent from the field.
“The thing I told them in the locker room was just to trust and believe in the system and the system will work,” Collins said. “Whatever or whoever we take out of this system, this system will work.”
The Hawks coughed it 11 times in the first half, but gave it up just six times after the break.
Delaware State stayed close early in the second half, trailing by just four points as late as the 7:28 mark. But the Hawks pushed the lead out to as many as 12 before holding on for the 74-65 win.
Derrico Peck (Atlanta, Georgia) making just his second start of the season, finished with six rebounds, two assists and a pair of steals and 12 points – including a couple of highlight reel dunks.
“He is just our energy guy,” Collins said. “He does a lot of things and I’m proud of him. We know that he still hasn’t tapped into his best ability yet. I put in a couple of plays for him to drive the ball and he did that today. It kind of got him a little more aggressive than he normally is. I’m just pleased and proud he was able to give us that energy we need to be successful.”
Thomas Rivera (Harlem, New York) had 14 points and three assists off the bench.
The point guard position was a group effort as the Hawks continue to do adjust without injured freshman Ahmad Frost (Cincinnati, Ohio) whose season is over. Rivera and Marc Seylan (Paris, France) shared most of the time, but Mark Blackmon (Charlotte, North Carolina) Andino and Peck and helped as well.
“They’ve just got to trust and believe in the system,” Collins said. “If they listen to me, I won’t lead them wrong and Just now they are kind of getting what Ahmad (Frost) had before he got injured. And that is just trusting and believing in the system and hearing me and listening when I’m telling them what to do.”
The victory stopped a five-game losing skid for the Hawks that had started on Feb. 8 at home against Norfolk State.
The Hawks will finish out the regular season on the road at Morgan State on March 3 at 7:30 p.m. All games are the second half of a men's and women's doubleheader.
All games can be heard locally on Fox Sports Radio 960 AM WTGM or on www.umeshawks.com. Brendan Gulick will have the call Thursday from Morgan State on the Hawks Sports Radio Network.
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