UMES can't get past Howard in MEAC

Missed three-pointers give Bison 71-69 victory

March 11, 2003|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

RICHMOND, Va. - The Arthur Ashe Center is turning into Heartbreak Hotel for the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore men.

Last season, Tee Trotter struck for a then-career high 40 points, but the Hawks couldn't get out of the play-in round.

Last night, UMES couldn't stop opposing center James Wilkinson during the game's crucial stretch, and Trotter and Aaron Wellington missed three-point tries at the end that would have forced an overtime. Howard held on for a 71-69 victory to advance to the quarterfinals.

"It's been real frustrating," said Trotter, the second-team All-MEAC guard who led UMES (5-23) with 25 points. "We've lost so many close games like this, ones we could have won."

Trotter's father, coach Thomas Trotter, thought his team missed opportunities at the end of the first half and the start of the second to take an 8- to 10-point edge after leading to that point.

But the real crusher came about eight minutes into the second period when Wilkinson scored five straight baskets on layups to usher the Bison into a 60-51 advantage. In a game in which UMES restricted Ron Williamson, the league's player of the year, to eight points below his scoring average, a leak sprung up elsewhere.

Three-pointers weren't enough to quite get the Hawks even again, although Wellington and Trotter each tried to tie it in the final minute with a long-range shot before Williamson's two free throws closed it out at 71-66 with 6.6 seconds left.

"It's just deja vu," said Thomas Trotter. "I thought we'd be turning the corner by now. We forced Aaron to have to be a top scorer at 18 years old and and I'm proud of what he and Tee have done. We needed our juniors to step up and be in that [scoring] role and they didn't."

The Hawks beat Howard (12-16) in the regular-season finale in Princess Anne, Md., 73-67, only four days earlier. That may have provided some motivation for the Bison.

"That gave them more confidence and made us more hungry," said Howard guard Kyle Williams.

Howard will play second-seeded Delaware State in the next round.

UMES-Trotter 8-19 5-7 25, Joiner 3-8 0-0 8, Wellington 4-7 0-1 11, Socka 7-10 1-1 15, Trotman 0-1 1-3 1, Wiggins 3-5 3-3 9. Totals 25-50 10-15 69. HOWARD-Williams 6-16 3-4 15, Williamson 5-12 4-6 14, Grove 6-7 0-0 12, Aluko 2-7 1-2 5, Ford 0-1 4-4 4, Wilkerson 10-12 1-2 21. Totals 29-55 13-18 71. Halftime-UMES, 35-32. 3-point goals-UMES 9-23 (Wellington 3-5, Trotter 4-11, Joiner 2-7); HU 0-4 (Aluko 0-1, Williams 0-3). Fouled out-Trotman. Rebounds-UMES 26 (Joiner, Wiggins 6); HU 30 (Wilkerson 8). Assists-UMES 9 (Wellington 5); HU 9 (Ford 5). Total fouls-UMES 20; HU 18. A-na.

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