South Carolina State men's basketball team posted their first conference win of the season with an, 78-71, victory over Maryland-Eastern Shore Wednesday at Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center.
SC State improves to 5-9 overall, 1-0 MEAC, while UMES falls to 2-12, 0-2 in the league.
"I am really happy for our program and it feels good to open up conference play with a win," said SC State head coach Murray Garvin. "We reached another milestone tonight, this was the first time in four years we opened up league play with a victory."
Senior forward Matthew Hezekiah led the way for the Bulldogs recording his first double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while senior guard Adama "Louis" Adams and freshman Jalen White tossed in 14 each in the win.
The Bulldogs controlled most of the first-half jumping out to an commanding 17-point lead, 37-20 off a pair of free-throws by Jalen White. A driving layup by junior guard Ishaq Pitt cut the lead to nine, 38-29, with 2:44 remaining before halftime. SC State led 40-30 during intermission.
Late in the second-half UMES changed the momentum pulling within five, 57-52. SC State senior guard Theron Stephens nailed a long range 3-pointer followed by a 3-pointer by sophomore forward Daryll Palmer to extend the lead to nine, 63-54, with a little under 3:06 remaining in regulation.
Despite, a lofty 21 turnovers, SC State out-rebounded UMES 34-28 down the stretch to hold on to a 78-71 victory over the Hawks. Freshman guard Hakeem Baxter led the way for Maryland-Eastern Shore with a game-high 23 points, while teammate Kyree Jones added 20 in the loss.
Freshman guard Koran Wright finished with 11 points while hitting 3-of-5 from behind in the arch. Palmer tallied nine points and seven rebounds on the night.
Garvin stated, "It's a good win for us now it's time to turn our focus to Morgan State on Saturday."
SC State returns to action on Saturday when they hit the road to take on Morgan State in a pivotal MEAC showdown. Tip-off is 4 p.m.