UMES shoot past Hornet men 68-66

DOVER — Delaware State went through a field goal drought which lasted nearly 10 minutes.

Its struggles from the free throw line lasted for what seemed like the whole game.

Still, the Hornets were one possession away from back-to-back victories.

Gabriel Gyamfi knocked down a pair of free throws with 13.3 seconds left to lift University of Maryland Eastern Shore over Delaware State 68-66 in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference men’s basketball contest on Monday night.

“They made tough shots and we didn’t in the end,” said DSU coach Eric Skeeters.

Delaware State fell to 2-5 in the MEAC and 3-18 overall.

The Hornets rallied from a 63-56 deficit with 3:47 left in the game and ended up taking the lead twice in the final two minutes. John Crosby’s free throws put the Hornets in front 64-63, capping an 8-0 Delaware State run with 1:49 remaining.

A.J. Cheeseman pushed UMES back in front with a jumper of his own on the next possession.

But Crosby had a response. He pumped-faked and went under a UMES defender to drain a long two-point jumper with 1:06 left. That would be Delaware State’s final points of the game.

The Hawks (2-5 MEAC, 3-19 overall) missed a three on the other end but Delaware State came up empty with its chance to extend its 66-65 advantage.

Gyamfi had a layup attempt blocked by DelState’s Ameer Bennett but the loose ball fell right back to Gyamfi. He put up another shot attempt and was fouled by Fahim Jenetto.

Gyamfi then made both free throws before Crosby’s potential go-ahead basket rimmed out with four seconds to go. UMES hit one of two free throws after a DSU foul and Crosby’s desperation heave came up short at the buzzer.

While the Hornets had chances down the stretch, it was a field goal drought from 13:08 left in the second half to the 3:33 mark which dug them in such a hole.

“I didn’t realize it was that long,” Skeeters said. “We got stagnant offensively with our execution. I got to do a better job on offense, that’s on me.”

When Omari Peek-Green hit a three-pointer with 13:08 left, it put Delaware State on top 53-49. But the Hornets did not hit another field goal until Pinky Wiley’s layup with 3:33 to go.

UMES went on a 12-2 run during that span, with Delaware State’s only two points coming on free throws.

Free throws were another rough spot for the Hornets. They shot 15-of-27 from the line (55.6 percent).

“All the little things matter over the course of a 40-minute game,” Skeeters said. “We’ve got to knock down free throws. We got to clean that up.”

Crosby paced the Hornets with a game-high 19 points. Peek-Green added 16 while Bennett also finished in double figures with 11.