PRINCESS ANNE, Md. — For the first time since the 2017-18 season opener, the Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks were back inside the Hytche Center.
The Hawks went 1-5 on their six game road trip, with all five losses coming by at least 26 points. Their lone win came against the Jackson State Tigers in the Emerald Coast Classic, 66-63.
On Saturday, the Hawks took on the American University Eagles for the third season in a row. It’s the first meeting on the Hawks’ home floor. Eastern Shore won the first meeting back in the 2015-16 season, 79-64, with the Eagles picking up a 61-58 win last year.
Both teams came into Saturday with two wins on the year, and were looking to inch closer to the .500 mark as they opened the month of December. While the Eagles held the lead for most of the afternoon, they were unable to hold off the Hawks down the stretch.
Timely free throw shooting from Ahmad Frost and Miryne Thomas in the closing minutes sealed the deal for Eastern Shore, who came away with the 74-70 win over the Eagles.
Thomas recorded his first career double-double in the win for Eastern Shore, recording 17 points and 10 rebounds. He set a career-high in both categories.
Fellow forward Tyler Jones led all Eastern Shore players in scoring with 18 points, while Frost and Logan McIntosh added 13 points apiece, with McIntosh adding six assists, five rebounds, and four steals.
Guard Larry Motuzis led the way for the Eagles, scoring a game-high 24 points in the loss. Nelson chipped in with 20 points and nine rebounds of his own.
American led 45-37 after the first half, and maintained their lead for the majority of the second half. Frost hit a pair of three pointers to bring the Hawks to within one with under 10 minutes to play in the game.
Later, Thomas hit a free throw to tie the game at 67-all with under four minutes left on the clock. Jones would hit a free throw of his own shortly thereafter, and Thomas would follow up with another two from the charity stripe to give the Hawks a three point lead with just over a minute to play.
After a miss from the Eagles, Frost hit two free throws of his own to make it a two possession game, thus sealing the deal for the home side.
The Hawks shot just 39.3% from the floor, but managed to hit 22-of-29 (75.9%) of their free throws in the win. American attempted just 12 free throws on the day, hitting five.
The win snapped a two-game slide for Maryland Eastern Shore (3-5). It was a quick stop at home, as the Hawks begin another six game road trip on Monday against the Duquesne Dukes.
With the loss, American (2-5) have now lost back-to-back games after winning two straight. They continue their road trip on Wednesday against the Western Illinois Leathernecks.
– T. Bennett