In a rare Monday afternoon contest in December, the American Univ. Eagles welcomed the Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks to town in what was the last non-conference home game for the Eagles.
Both the Hawks and Eagles were looking to build some positive momentum as the end of December quickly approaches. American Univ. entered the game on the heels of a win over the Youngstown State Penguins. That ended the Eagles’ two game losing streak, and gave them their second win of the year.
As for the Hawks, they were in the midst of a six-game road swing. The road hasn’t been to kind to Eastern Shore this season, as they entered the game 0-9 away from Hytche Arena. They were looking to end their three-game losing skid, and get back on the right track.
After the Hawks took a 5-2 lead early on, the Eagles held down their home court and maintained their advantage for most of the game.
Down the stretch, the Hawks were able to fight back and take a lead of their own, thanks in part to a technical foul given to the Eagles’ bench. However, the Eagles would not be denied.
Timely free throw shooting in the closing minutes gave the Eagles the hard-fought 61-58 victory over Maryland-Eastern Shore.
With 4:16 to play in the second half, Ryan Andino hit a three pointer to bring the Hawks to within three points, at 53-50. After Charlie Jones missed a three for the Eagles, the door was open for the Hawks to take their first lead since the opening minutes of the contest.
The bench for the Eagles was given a technical foul, and Andino proceeded to hit both free throws. On the same possession, a corner three from Thomas Rivera gave the Hawks a 55-53 lead with under three and a half minutes to play.
Off a miss by the Hawks, Sa’eed Nelson got a layup to fall to tie the game up at 55-all, and Delante Jones scored his first two points of the second half on the next Eagles’ possession to put them ahead for good.
Timely free throw shooting in the closing minutes from the Eagles secured the 61-58 win over Maryland-Eastern Shore.
Ryan Andino and Dontae Caldwell scored 13 points apiece to lead the way for the Hawks, while senior forward Bakari Copeland chipped in with 9 points and 8 rebounds.
Guard Logan McIntosh played just 20 minutes, scoring 5 points before picking up his fifth foul.
Sa’eed Nelson scored a game-high 16 points for the Eagles, while also adding 5 rebounds and 4 steals. Delante Jones chipped in with 11 points, including four crucial points in the closing two minutes to seal the win.
The win was the second straight for the American Univ. Eagles (3-7, 0-0), while it was the fourth straight loss for the Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks (1-11, 0-0).
Both teams face tough road tests on Wednesday night, as the Eagles face off against the Villanova Wildcats, and the Hawks open up the Sun Bowl Invitational in El Paso, TX with a game against the UTEP Miners.
– T. Bennett