McKinney's two late shots won't fall, UMES does, 59-56 Delaware State escapes in MEAC tourney opener

March 01, 1996|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,SUN STAFF

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- It was no surprise that Maryland-Eastern Shore guard Aaron McKinney had the ball in his hands with his team trailing by a point in the closing seconds against Delaware State yesterday. McKinney earned a spot on the all-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference first team with his clutch shooting all season.

But McKinney would miss two shots in the final 13 seconds yesterday, including an eight-footer in the lane that bounced off the back of the rim as the sixth-seeded Hawks lost to third-seeded Delaware State, 59-56.

The victory by the Hornets (10-16) earned the team a spot in this afternoon's semifinal against top-seeded Coppin State. UMES (11-16) saw its season end against a team it had defeated nine straight times going into yesterday.

"It hurts, it really hurts," said UMES coach Jeff Menday, who lost his voice during the close game. "What hurt us was our shooting. We can't put the ball in the hole."

Neither team did a good job at that, with the shooting by UMES (36.4 percent) only slightly worse than that of Delaware State (37.0 percent).

McKinney hit just four of 18 shots.

Delaware State had overcome a seven-point deficit midway through the second half and had a 58-56 lead when the Hornets turned the ball over while attempting to put the ball inbounds with 19 seconds remaining.

The ball went to McKinney, who penetrated the lane but missed the eight-footer.

He got another shot seconds later, but that shot missed as well.

Delaware State center Chris Nurse was fouled after grabbing the rebound, and hit a free throw with one second left.

"I had some good looks," a dejected McKinney said. "They wanted to get me the ball. The shots just didn't fall."

But UMES fell, leaving Delaware State to play a Coppin team it has lost to twice this season, by an average of 14 points.

"That's a nightmare," Delaware State coach Fred Goodman said. "I watched that massacre [yesterday].

"I guess we'll watch film, but they scare you even more on film. They have so many weapons."

MEAC tournament

At Tallahassee, Fla.

First round: yesterday

Coppin State 83, Howard 63

Delaware State 59, UMES 56

S.C. State 79, Florida A&M 58

N.C. A&T 75, Bethune-Cook. 74

Semifinals: Today

S.C. State vs. N.C. A&T, 2 p.m.

Del. St. vs. Coppin St., 4:30 p.m.

@4 Championship: Tomorrow Semifinal winners, 3 p.m.

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