By Nick Novy, Athletic Communications Maryland Eastern-Shore,
PRINCESS ANNE, Maryland – The University of Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks win in dramatic fashion on Saturday with a 83-80 overtime win over the Penn Quakers.
“This was an incredible moment for us and this may have been the biggest win I have been a part of here as the head coach,” UMES head coach Jason Crafton. “I am proud of our guys and everything they have fought through to get to this point. They deserve all the credit and I am so happy we were able to deliver a victory tonight.”
Coming into Saturday after a win over No. 21 ranked Villanova, Penn led by as many as seven in the first half before baskets by Devon Ellis, Dionte Johnson and Chace Davis tied up the game at 28-28. UMES sophomore Damani Claxton put his stamp on the game soaring over Quaker forwards for the dunk to electrify the UMES homecoming crowd late in the half as the Hawks went into the break with a 32-31 lead.
The Quakers eventually built another seven point lead midway through the second half on a Clark Slajchert jumper to give Penn a 51-44 lead at the 10 minute mark. The Hawks gradually chipped away at the Penn lead and jumped ahead, 60-59, on an Elijah Wilson three pointer at the 4:41 mark. The game would end up being decided by the shooting of Wilson later in the half and in overtime.
Down by three, Wilson knocked down the three-pointer infront of his home bench to send the game in overtime, 67-67. The Univ. of Toledo transfer from Lithonia, Georgia would later hit the shot of the night. After an overtime period which included four lead changes and five ties. UMES guard Dionte Johnson found Wilson at the top of the key for the game winning shot. With 0.9 seconds left, Wilson hit from beyond the arc as the Hawks went on to celebrate the homecoming victory, 83-80.
“It is great to deliver for my team and for the fans who were here,” Wilson said. “We had some good execution down the stretch. Tonight was a great win for our team. We hope to keep it going and work towards getting better.”
All five Hawk starters scored in double-figures. UMES forward Troy Huptstead had his best game as a Hawk with 22 points and 15 rebounds while making eight of 15 field goals. Davis and Johnson held down the Hawk backcourt with 16 points each. Ellis finished with 12 points while Wilson ended with 11 points.
UMES was able to overcome a game-high 31 points from Penn’s Clark Slajchert.
“We continue to get better. To be able to get a win against a quality program shows what we are capable off and where we are as a team. We challenged each player to stay within their roles and doing what they do best,” Crafton said. “Guys like Troy and Chace did a great job tonight while Elijah stepped in and made the big shots when his number was called. As we move forward, we will look towards another tough game at Notre Dame and what we can do to compete and try to come out with another win.”
The loss drops Penn to 3-2 overall while the Hawks are now 2-2 overall heading into Wednesday’s game at Notre Dame.