Looking to close their regular season strong in advance of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament, Norfolk State bullied its way past the conference’s last-place team, Maryland-Eastern Shore, 77-65 on Monday night in Norfolk, Va.
The game was originally scheduled to start at 8 p.m., but a massive snow storm closing in on Virginia forced the teams to tip off the contest almost three hours earlier.
Two days earlier, UMES won at Coppin State to snap the nation’s longest road losing streak at 34 games.
Guard Pendarvis Williams led the Spartans (17-10, 11-4 MEAC) with 21 points.
Norfolk State jumped out to a 48-33 halftime lead and never looked back en route to a season sweep of the series. The Spartans won the teams’ earlier meeting, 66-62 on Jan. 11. They now own six consecutive wins over UMES, and 22 in the past 24 meetings. Norfolk State leads the overall series 41-16.
The Hawks (5-23, 3-12) got a team-high 20 points and 13 rebounds from senior forward Troy Snyder, who is doing all he can to end his career with a bang. Snyder, the hero when he hit two free throws with 0.3 seconds left to lift UMES past Coppin State, 68-67, is averaging 24 points and 11 boards in the Hawks’ past six games.
UMES also got 12 points from guard Louis Bell, while guard Ishaq Pitt added 10 points in the loss.
The Spartans, who hurt themselves with 25 turnovers in a Saturday loss to Hampton but committed just 11 on Monday, also got big games from guard Malcolm Hawkins with 16 points and nine rebounds, while center Brandon Goode added 15 points and 10 boards. Norfolk State guard Jamel Fuentes contributed nine assists and four points.
Norfolk State, which is trying to wrap up the No. 3 seed, will host the MEAC tourney that begins March 10. Morgan State, which has two games remaining, is a half-game behind Norfolk State.
The Spartans have one more huge test before the tournament begins. They close the regular season Thursday at home against regular-season champ North Carolina Central.
The Hawks will finish up Thursday at home against Delaware State.
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