Hicks keys late run for Hawks as they top Savannah State
Senior guard Alexus Hicks (Raleigh, North Carolina) scored 13 of her 16 points off the bench in the decisive fourth quarter -- including a perfect 3-of-3 from behind the arc -- as the University of Maryland Eastern Shore outscored Savannah State 25-10 in the final period to grab a 68-56 victory.
"I thought the bench made the difference," Hawks head coach Fred Batchelor said. "They came in and got us the lead. Hicks played four minutes the other day. She got called into the game because Marta threw a one-hand pass that I was tired of seeing. That was when she got in the game.
"So, maybe it was a great decision that Marty threw that pass, because I thought Hicks was the difference in the game -- both her Ra'Jean Martin (Jacksonville, Florida) and Porsha Sydnor (Chicago, Illinois) off the bench. And I thought our upperclassmen did a good job of closing it out."
The Hawks (4-12, 1-3 MEAC) trailed 46-43 to begin the fourth quarter after playing a dead-even 10-10 in the third. The Hawks were 8-of-14 from the floor (57 percent), 3-of-4 from 3 (75 percent) and 6-of-8 from the free throw line (75 percent) in the last stanza.
Defensively they turned up the heat holding Savannah State to 5-of-18 from the field and the bench scored 17 of the 25 points with Sydnor putting in a pair of buckets.
Hicks made her mark on the game in just 14 minutes and has had a hard time finding her niche since the lineups began shuffling upon Ciani Byrom's (Winston-Salem, North Carolina) return from injury. But it seemed just a matter of time before she made a big impact.
"It is a testament to the type of character that she has," Batchelor said. "When teams are struggling changes have to be made and sometimes it's not because of anything someone did or didn't do. There are just changes and you become the person that is not involved. She did a good job of mentally being in it and stepped in when called and helped us win a game today."
Savannah State (2-12, 0-3 MEAC) held a 51-43 rebounding advantage (31-23 defensive) on the glass in the game, but the Hawks forced 19 Tiger turnovers.
Freshman Bairesha Gill-Miles (Lexington, Kentucky) had 13 points and six rebounds at the half to help The Shore remain in the game after a slow start. She was a big part of why the team trailed just 36-33 at the break.
"The thing is that she is a freshman -- a very talented freshman, but a freshman," Batchelor said. "With the mistakes that she makes sometimes it's good and bad, but she's a kid I think you definitely want to have on the floor. I thought she's learning as she goes. If she doesn't have somebody to follow it is tough for a freshman to find her way. She needs some of our upperclassmen to really step up and establish themselves so that she can play her role as a freshman and not play the superhero in her first season on the floor."
Byrom finished the game with 15 points, four assists, three rebounds and just one turnover in 32 minutes. The junior hit four free throws down the stretch to help ice the game, while Hicks made a pair.
Eastern Shore turned the ball over just nine times in the game.
Graduate transfer Jordyn Smith (Durham, North Carolina) scored all four of her points in the fourth quarter and grabbed nine rebounds.
The Hawks will next travel to Orangeburg for a Monday (Jan. 15) meeting at South Carolina State.
"I think they will be feeling good about themselves," Batchelor said of his squad. "We were really down. This is our first road win. I think that now we just have to go play better basketball. It will make it a lot easier if we shoot the free throws butter, but I think we'll gain a lot of confidence from this and I'm optimistic well play a lot better as we move on."
For more information on Eastern Shore Athletics visit http://www.easternshorehawks.com/.
- Men's Sports
- Women's Sports
- FAN ZONE
- DONATE NOW
- Business Accessories
- Decals/Magnets & Auto
- Duffles & Totes
- Everyday Essentials
- Flags & Wall Decals
- Gifts, Food & Accessories
- Hunting & Fishing