SALISBURY -- The blowouts at Iowa, Iowa State and Maryland were nothing compared to the indignity suffered by Maryland-Eastern Shore last night.
The Hawks (0-6) discovered the hard way that they also have problems against a good Division III team, as they were routed by Eastern Shore rival Salisbury State (5-1) at the Wicomico Civic Center, 111-74. It was the first meeting between the two since 1986, and there's no reason to believe UMES coach Bob Hopkins wants to keep the series going.
"That was a humiliating experience," said Hopkins, who grimaced as his team committed 30 turnovers. "We don't resemble a team right now. When you're down 15 or 20 points, you shouldn't lose your composure. Everyone's trying to do it themselves, and we've got some problems to resolve."
Andre Foreman, a senior forward from Berlin, had 34 points and 11 rebounds for the Sea Gulls, raising his career scoring total to 2,344 points. Junior forward Kevin Cromer had 10 points and 10 rebounds, sophomore Dameon Ross hit all four of his three-point tries en route to 18 points, and fellow transfer Bret Grebowsky had a strong game at the point.
"I was kind of pumped up," Foreman said. "This was the perfect time to prove myself against Division I players."
This one showed that there is no difference between the bottom of Division I and the top of Division III, as the Sea Gulls displayed more hustle and cohesion, and nearly as much talent, as the Hawks.
Salisbury State went to the NCAA Division III tournament last season, and the Sea Gulls do have one of their best teams ever, with Foreman, a first-team All-American, getting immediate help
from three transfers, including Ross, a sophomore guard out of DuVal High who spent a season at Old Dominion, and Grebowsky, who played two seasons at Division II Clarion.
UMES also has some new faces -- nine to be exact -- and it will be awhile before they make an impact. The Hawks have resided near the bottom of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference since stepping up to Division I a decade ago. UMES has had one winning season since 1974, when coach John Bates and Joe Pace left Princess Anne and set up shop at Coppin State.
UMES had been a defensive disaster in its first five games, as Hopkins complained about his team's weak play in the paint at Iowa and perimeter deficiencies against Liberty. The Hawks, who came in allowing 100.8 points per game, had problems everywhere against the uptempo Sea Gulls, who have been one of the nation's highest-scoring Division III teams in 1989-90 and 1990-91.
UMES had a 24-20 lead and the momentum when it took a timeout with seven minutes left. Junior forward Marlin Kimbrew twice had blocked Foreman and sent him momentarily to the bench, but the Sea Gulls regrouped during the break and went on a 20-4 run, with Foreman getting nine. It was 79-51 with 10:15 left, and coach Ward Lambert emptied his bench soon thereafter.
Kimbrew led the Hawks with 15 points.