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SC State Uses Free Throw Shooting to Get By UMES

Winston-Salem, N.C., March 11 – South Carolina State scored its last seven points from the free-throw line to pull away to a 59-53 win over Maryland Eastern Shore in the quarterfinal round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament at the Joel Coliseum.

The Bulldogs (17-13), the Number 3 seed will take on Delaware State, the Number 2 seed, in a semifinal match on Friday at 8 pm.

The Hawks (11-21), the Number 6 seed, took control early by riding the scoring of Josh Bright, holding a 20-13 advantage on the boards, and forcing 9 turnovers.

“We knew that it was going to be a war,” said SC State Coach Tim Carter. “It was a war down there and we expected the same thing tonight. It was an ugly game and neither team shot the ball well. Because of our lack of size, we have a very small margin for error.”

In the second half, SC State became more efficient. Jason Flagler and Darnell Porter provided the offensive punch and the Bulldogs won the rebounding battle, 20-14.

After UMES took the biggest lead of the game at 30-20, the Bulldogs went on a 16-6 run to tie the game at 36-all. From there, it was a nip-and-tuck affair with five ties and five lead changes before the Bulldogs were able to put the game away at the foul line.

“Give South Carolina State credit; they came out in the second half and imposed their will on us,” said UMES head coach Frankie Allen, in his second year there. “They took away some things from us and they hit their free throws to win a hard-fought game.”

Added Coach Carter, “I thought our defense was the key down the stretch. We missed some of our free throws but we hit the ones that we needed to.”

The Bulldogs held the Hawks to one field goal in the last 2:12.

UMES was led by Hillary Haley with 13 off the bench and Bright and Kevin White, who tallied 11 and 10, respectively in a losing effort.

The Bulldogs were paced by Flagler, a first team all-MEAC selection, who led all scorers with 20, and Porter, who contributed 16.

SC State met Delaware State once during the season in Dover, DE and the Hornets prevailed, 67-58.

“We played them at their place and it was a very competitive game,” said Carter. “They have a great coach, they run great stuff and they keep you off balance. If we are not hitting our shots, we could be in for a long night.”

Pellum, Simpson Lead No. 5 Hampton to Win Over No. 4 Norfolk State

Winston-Salem, N.C., March 11 – Darrion Pellum scored a team-high 19 points including two key free-throws and Vincent Simpson added 18 to lead Hampton University to a hard-fought 73-70 win over Norfolk State University in the final quarterfinal match of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament at Joel Coliseum.

The Pirates (13-17), the Number 5 seed, will take on Morgan State, the Number 1 seed at 6 p.m. on Friday.

The game was a battle from start to finish between two rivals separated by less than 30 miles. It featured spirited plays, bodies on the floor and a lot of banter from fans of both teams.

The Pirates were able to flex a bit when they ended the half with a run that gave them a 10-point bulge at 40-30. Simpson provided much of the firepower with 15 points while Pellum contributed 10.

In the second half, the Spartans (11-19), the Number 5 seed, found themselves trailing by 14 in the first four minutes of the second half, but a spirited 28-11 run led by Michael Deloach, a first team All-MEAC selection, gave Norfolk State a 58-57 lead at the 8:10 mark.

From there, the two teams traded baskets and it went back and forth until Pellum sealed the deal with two free throws with 25 seconds left on the clock. Pellum was not finished. He was detailed to defend the mercurial Deloach on the Spartans’ last possession.

“A lot of people don’t think that Pellum can play defense,” said Hampton coach Ed Joyner. “He, along with Mike Freeman, are our best two defenders. Because he is long, he was able to deny Deloach the ball and it forced other people to take the three and that was what we wanted.”

DeLoach finished with 21 points, 16 coming in the second half, six assists and five rebounds. Hampton added 20 and Kyle O’Quinn 8 points and 9 rebounds.

In addition to Pellum’s 19 and Simpson’s 18, Charles Funches came off the bench to score 11 and grab 9 rebounds.

The Pirates played Morgan State in Hampton, Virginia in January and lost to them, 73-63. Coach Joyner admits that the regular season champs pose a serious challenge.

“In order to win this tournament, you have to go through Morgan,” said Joyner. “It is going to be a challenge but we will come to play.”