Courtesy of Nick Lewis, Maryland Eastern Shore Athletics
The University of Maryland Eastern Shore men’s basketball team used an overtime surge to win its third straight contest, topping the Columbia University Lions 74-67 on Wednesday, December 28 at Levien Gymnasium.
The victory made the Hawks the first Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference team to defeat Columbia, who were 9-0 all-time against the league entering Wednesday’s action.
“Another great win for our program,” head coach Jason Crafton said. “We showed tremendous focus to close it out in overtime and we had to fight through a lot of adversity tonight.”
UMES got out to one of its best starts of the season against the Lions. After allowing the opening bucket, the Hawks embarked on a 15-0 run spanning nearly eight minutes of game time.
The Lions made multiple efforts to narrow the margin in the first half, but never got closer than seven. UMES went into the intermission leading 28-19.
The Hawks came out of the locker room with a purpose, growing their lead to 16 in just over two minutes courtesy of a 9-2 run. Columbia failed to move within six points over the first nine minutes of the second half.
With 10:20 to go, however, the hosts began to push the Hawks. Columbia went on a 10-2 run to cut the score to 52-50. After more seesaw action between the teams, the score rested at 59-59 with 3:39 left.
The two sides battled defensively, each securing a bucket in the final minutes but failing to earn a second as the game found its way into extra time.
After allowing the opening points of the OT and trailing 65-64 with 3:08 remaining, UMES laid the knockout punch with a 10-2 run to close the contest.
The Hawks held Columbia to a 37.1 percent shooting clip and a stingy 15.4 three-point percentage (4-of-26). UMES also nabbed seven steals and tied its season-high with four blocks in the win while contributing to 18 Lion turnovers.
“The defensive lockdown efforts we are showing is attributed to our team taking pride in the game plan,” Crafton said.
Meanwhile, the Hawks shot 28-of-68 (41.2 percent) from the field and made seven threes in the effort. UMES also knocked down 11 of their 13 looks from the free-throw line (84.6 percent).
Da‘Shawn Phillip set a new career-high for the second straight game, posting a game-high 21 points in the win and making four three-pointers. Kevon Voyles set a new career mark as well with 20 points while hauling in eight boards and going 5-for-5 from the stripe on the night.
Nathaniel Pollard Jr. topped double-digit boards for the third time in as many games, missing a double-double by just one point. Pollard posted a game-high 12 rebounds and added nine points with a trio of assists.
Ahamadou Fofana finished with nine points, four rebounds and four assists against the Lions.
“Our vets made key plays down the stretch and that’s what good teams do,” Crafton said. “We still have a lot to improve on to get ready for MEAC play.”
Having played their final game of the calendar year, the Hawks return to action on January 2, 2023 at the Hytche to take on St. Mary’s College of Maryland at 7 p.m.
Next Game: St. Mary's College of Maryland 1/2/2023 | 7:00 PM