NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Pendarvis Williams scored a game-high 21 points and the Norfolk State men’s basketball team kept its hopes alive for a MEAC tournament bye with a 77-65 victory over UMES early Monday evening at Joseph Echols Hall.
Williams hit 8-of-12 from the floor, including seven of his last eight shots after a slow start, to help push NSU’s record to 11-4 in the MEAC, 17-12 overall.
The Spartans can still get the No. 3 seed in the MEAC tournament, and thus a first-round bye into the quarterfinals, with a victory over North Carolina Central on Thursday coupled with a Hampton victory over North Carolina A&T.
The Spartans scored their most points in the last 10 games.
Before the Spartans could think of those scenarios, they had to handle UMES at home in a game that was moved up a couple hours because of a winter storm hitting the Hampton Roads area. NSU did just that despite allowing the Hawks (5-23-, 3-12 MEAC) to climb to within six late in the game.
NSU turned an 11-point lead at the half into a 19-point edge, 52-33, with 14:45 to go. Williams had seven points early in the half and capped that opening spurt for the Spartans with a pair of free throws. The Hawks cut the lead back down to 12 with a 7-0 run, but senior Malcolm Hawkins drained three straight free throws at 12:44 for a 15-point lead.
From there, NSU’s lead stayed between 11 and 14 points for the next eight and a half minutes. After Williams drained a trey at the 4:21 mark, UMES scored eight straight, capped by a 3-point play from Troy Snyder. Goode followed with a 3-point play of his own, and the Spartans never drained by single digits the rest of the way.