|Williams Helps Norfolk State Hold Off UMES||< All News|
|Monday, March 10, 2014|
NORFOLK, VA—Pendarvis Williams scored 13 of his game-high 22 points in the second and made perhaps the biggest play of the game to help Norfolk State withstand a furious second rally and get by Maryland Eastern Shore, 78-74 in the first round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament at the Norfolk Scope.
The Spartans (18-13), the Number 4 seed, advance to the quarterfinal round on Thursday against the winner of the South Carolina State-Savannah State at 8 pm
Norfolk State took the lead and cruised to a 43-26 halftime lead. RasHid Gaston and Malcolm Hawkins each scored 11 points as the Spartans shot 61 percent (16 of 26) in the first stanza.
The lead ballooned to 60-37 at the 12:36 mark and the game appeared to be in hand. But the Hawks (6-24) had other ideas. Maryland Eastern Shore went on a 37-14 during a 10-minute stretch to tie the game at 74-all with 1:49 on the clock. The run was fueled by Hakeem Baxter, Devon Walker and reserve Mark Blackmon who combined for 39 of their team 48 second half points.
“I’m proud of our guys and how they battled down the stretch getting us back in the game,” said UMES Coach Frankie Allen.” We were down 23 at one point and got back into it, thanks to our guys. It told me a lot about the character of this team. Norfolk State is one of the best teams in this league, but they still had a four-seed. For us to battle a team like that I’m just extremely proud – and of these two guys [Hakeem] Baxter and [Devon] Walker.
“It was a hard-fought game, and it came down to them making a play in the end, and we weren’t able to get that stop or make the play ourselves. We spent a lot of energy with the comeback and the fact we had an opportunity says a lot about our team.”
Gaston made one of two free throws to give the Spartans at 75-74 lead with 1:21 remaining. The Hawks turned the ball over on their ensuing possession and the Spartans ran the clock down before attempting a shot that missed. Williams grabbed the missed shot and was fouled. The senior second team All-MEAC selection converted both to give his team a 77-74 lead with just six ticks on the clock. The Hawks turned it over again and Marese Phelps knocked down one of two from the free throw line and close out the scoring and send the Spartans to the next round.
“Pendarvis is a very versatile player,” said Norfolk State head coach Robert Jones. ”We would like him to rebound the ball a little bit more, but he did that for us today. From the free throw line, we have confidence in him late in the game to step to the line and knock down those shots.” Williams was 9 of 12 from the free throw line and grabbed seven rebounds.
Both teams got balanced scoring. The Hawks got a team-high 21 from Baxter, 16 from Walker, 13 from Blackmon off the bench and 11 from Snyder.
Williams led all scorers with 22, Hawkins and Gaston each scored 17 and Brandon Goode contributed 12.