Zamara Haynes scored a team-high 16 points, but it was the play of Ariana Seawell down the stretch to help Maryland Eastern Shore edge Morgan State 49-46 in the opening round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Basketball Tournament at the Scope Arena.
The Hawks (10-19), the No. 7 seed, advance to Friday’s semifinal round against the winner of the Howard University-Delaware State quarterfinal game at 2 p.m.
The Bears, the No. 2 seed, close out the season at 18-9.
The game featured runs by both teams following a close first quarter. UMES held a 13-10 lead at the end of the first 10 minutes. The Hawks, with Haynes doing most of the work, embarked on a 15-0 run and took what seemed to be a safe 26-12 lead at the 4:18 mark of the second quarter.
But the Bears responded with a run of their own to close the gap to 29-23 at intermission.
“The game was a series of runs,” UMES head coach Fred Batchelor said. “I am just happy we had the decisive run. Seawell came up huge for us down the stretch. She is just a sophomore and has come up like that all season for us.”
After Morgan State took the lead at 34-33 on a Charlene Shepherd baseline jumper, the game became a defensive struggle with points hard to come by.
There were eight lead changes and four ties before Seawell made sure the Hawks would advance. Meanwhile, the Bears, who relied heavily on Shepherd (who led all scorers with 21) went cold, missing several shots that would have given them the chance.
“We had some good looks down the stretch, but we were hesitant,” Morgan State head coach Ed Davis said. “It seemed like no one really wanted to take the shot.”