DURHAM, N.C. — After inclement weather forced changes to the schedule for both the Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks and the North Carolina Central Eagles, the two teams finally squared off on Wednesday afternoon.
The two teams were supposed to square off on Saturday afternoon in Durham, but snow forced the game to be postponed until Wednesday.
It wasn’t an easy weekend for the Eagles, as their tilt with the Delaware State Hornets was also postponed due to the weather. The Eagles fell to the Hornets on Tuesday night, 69-68.
Playing their second game in as many days, fatigue was very much a possibility for North Carolina Central against the Hawks, who were coming off a 99-88 win over the North Carolina A&T Aggies on Monday.
However, that was not the case.
While it took a bit for the Eagles to get things rolling on offense, they took a nine point lead into halftime, and used a 10-0 run early in the second to blow the game open.
Dajuan Graf scored a game-high 25 points, and North Carolina Central bounced back quick after Tuesday’s loss with a 69-52 win over Maryland-Eastern Shore.
It was a back-and-forth start to the game before the Hawks jumped out to a six-point lead. Ryan Andino hit a jumper with just under 15 minutes to play in the opening half that gave the visitors a 14-8 advantage.
As the first half ticked away, the Hawks did their best to keep the lead in their favour. With 7:45 to play in the opening stanza, Graf grabbed an offensive rebound and got the second-chance layup to drop, giving the Eagles a 22-20 lead.
They would build their lead as the half came to a close, and North Carolina Central too a 34-25 into the locker room.
To open the second half, the teams traded a pair of baskets, and the Eagles had a 39-29 lead. From there, the home side went on a 10-0 run that extended their lead to 20 points, capped off by another layup from Graf.
Eastern Shore scored five quick points to try and build some momentum in their favour, as Logan McIntosh recorded a steal and a layup to cut the deficit down to 50-35 with 11:26 to play in the contest.
North Carolina Central would hold off any comeback efforts that the Hawks would put together. Eastern Shore would get to within six points with just over five minutes to play, but no closer than that.
Down the stretch, the Eagles hit some big shots, and made their free throws to put the game on ice. North Carolina Central came away with the 69-52 victory over Maryland-Eastern Shore on Wednesday night.
Dajuan Graf led the way for the Eagles, scoring a game-high 25 points on 9-of-18 shooting from the floor. Graf also recorded 9 rebounds and 4 assists.
Patrick Cole chipped in with 14 points, shooting a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line, while also adding 8 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals in the victory.
For the Hawks, Bakari Copeland narrowly missed a double-double, recording 13 points and 9 rebounds in the loss. Isaac Taylor was the only other player to score in double figures for Eastern Shore, adding 12 points of his own.
It wasn’t a strong shooting night for both teams, as the Hawks shot just 35.8% (19-of-53) from the floor, while the Eagles finished the game shooting 41.1% (23-of-56).
Following their loss last night, the North Carolina Central Eagles (10-6, 1-1) bounced back nicely on Wednesday. They will go for their second straight win on Saturday, when they take on the Norfolk State Spartans.
With the loss, the Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks (4-13, 1-1) saw their modest two-game winning streak come to an end. The Hawks return home for Saturday’s game against the Howard Bison.
– T. Bennett