North Carolina Central survives, gets past Maryland Eastern Shore 87-81

Title image via the MEAC

Courtesy of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference

Second-Seeded North Carolina Central had only one field goal in the last three minutes of the contest but made 10-17 from the line to hang on for an 87-81 win over seven-seeded Maryland Eastern Shore Wednesday in quarterfinal action of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference at The Scope.

Fred Cleveland Jr. put the Eagles ahead 76-66 with a 3-pointer with 2:51 remaining but that would be the last basket from the field for Coach LeVelle Moton’s team. The Hawks fought back and closed to within 83-81 on a Dionte layup with 13 seconds to play, but Cleveland, who was 8-10 from the line, made four straight from the charity stripe as NCCU hung on for the victory.
Cleveland had 21 points and six assists for the Eagles, who also got 17 points each from Timmy Adedire and Po’Boigh King. Adedire also had eight rebounds in the victory.

NCCU, which climbed to 19-12 on the season, will meet the winner of Thursday’s quarterfinal matchup between third-seeded South Carolina State and the sixth-seed Delaware State Hornetson Friday at 8 p.m.
The Hawks were paced by Dionte Johnson with 21 points and four assists. Devon Ellis came off the bench for 18 points, while Kelechi Okworogwo added 13 points and three blocks. Troy Hupstead had a game-high 11 rebounds to go with eight points in the loss. UMES finished the campaign at 9-21.

In a closely contested first half, NCCU took a 40-37 lead to the locker room. Moton’s team began the final half on 18-10 run the pushed its lead to 58-47 with 13:02 remaining. The Hawks battled back to close the gap to 77-72 on a Hupstead follow shot with 1:58 on the clock and got to within two, 83-81, but just 13 ticks on the clock remained.

Cleveland sealed the win for the Eagles with four straight free throws and the final margin, 87-81.

The Eagles connected on 25-56 attempts from the floor for a 44.6 percent accuracy and made 28-36 attempts from the line in the win. UMES made 29-57 opportunities from the field, 50.9 percent, but NCCU hit 9-20 from three-point range to just 6-19 for the Hawks.
The rebounds were almost even, 35-34 in favor of the Eagles and both teams committed 13 turnovers. UMES owned the points in the paint, 36-24.

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