PRINCESS ANNE, Md. – The University of Maryland Eastern Shore men’s basketball team completed a sweep of the Sunshine State with a 72-65 victory at Florida A&M on Monday evening. UMES (12-10, 5-2) moved into third place in the MEAC standings with another close road win.
For the second straight game, the Hawks controlled the action, but had to hold off a late surge from their opponent. On Monday, UMES built a nine-point lead at halftime on the back of strong pressure defense. Coach Collins turned to his reserves to up the defensive intensity after a slow start, eventually forcing 13 first-half turnovers with a full-court press. Those 13 giveaways turned into 18 points for the Hawks as UMES led 39-30 at the break.
Even though UMES led by as many as 16 points in the second half, Florida A&M refused to go quietly. Starting at the 7:22 mark, the Rattlers went on a 12-4 run to pull within two points.
The Hawks responded by not allowing a field goal in the final four minutes, getting enough defensive stops to secure the victory. In a tightly officiated contest, the Hawks hit just enough free throws for a 72-65 final score.
Mike Myers battled his way to 18 points to pace the Hawks, with Devon Walker right behind him at 17 points. Ryan Andino (scored nine points in his first career start with junior guard Devin Martin sidelined.
Myers set the tone of the game by attempting 18 free throws, and helping to disqualify three Rattlers due to fouls. In a bruising contest, the two teams combined for 62 fouls and 68 free throw attempts with UMES making 25 of their 38 foul shots. The Hawks senior has now attempted 193 free throws on the season, second-most in the NCAA.
The Hawks established themselves as a premier road team in the NCAA with their eighth victory away from home, tied with Murray State for the most in the nation.
For UMES it was the first win in Tallahassee since January 16, 2010. With the win on Monday night, the Hawks swept the pair of Florida schools in the MEAC. It was the first time UMES had defeated both Bethune-Cookman and Florida A&M on the road in the same year since the 2000-01 season.
The win pushed UMES into third place in the MEAC standings behind North Carolina Central (8-0) and Norfolk State (7-1). At 5-2 in conference play, UMES has already surpassed their league win total from last season with nine games remaining.
Perhaps more impressively, the Hawks are a perfect 3-0 in conference road games so far. Meanwhile, the Rattlers remain winless at 0-20 with a 21-game losing streak dating back to last season, the longest active streak in the NCAA.