NORFOLK, Va. (NSUSpartans.com) – Tyrese Jenkins went for a career-high 19 points in leading the Norfolk State men’s basketball team to a 62-52 win over Maryland Eastern Shore in a MEAC contest on Saturday evening at Joseph Echols Hall.
The Spartans took sole possession of first place in the MEAC as the only undefeated team left in the league at 4-0. The freshman Jenkins played a big part in that, more than tripling his previous career high of six points. He was one of just two players for NSU in double figures.
In the end, Norfolk State won despite shooting just 29 percent from the floor in the second half. A 16-of-20 effort from the free throw line – 20-of-26 for the game – made the difference.
The Spartans won their fourth in a row, running their overall record to 8-11. In addition to Jenkins, senior Jermaine Bishop scored 17 points on 5-of-12 shooting, 4-of-8 from deep.
The Hawks fell to 2-17 overall, 1-3 in the league.
The Spartans finally took the lead for good late in the first half. They led by as much as 15 in the second half, but the Hawks did not go away.
Up by six at the half, the Spartans scored nine of the first 11 points coming out of the locker room. Four free throws from junior Devante Carter later made it 42-27 five and a half minutes in. The Hawks, however, scored the next eight points to cut the deficit to seven.
NSU went nearly eight minutes without a field goal, and MDES got as close as six with less than six minutes to go. Jenkins’ 3-pointer with 2:56 in the game basically sealed the deal for NSU, which led by 11 at that point and by as much as nine the rest of the way.
Jenkins finished 5-of-8 from the floor, 3-of-4 from deep. He made all six of his free throw attempts as well. He came into the night with just three 3-pointers on the season.
The Hawks shot 40 percent for the evening, 46 percent in the second half. NSU made just 35 percent overall but had eight 3-pointers as a team compared to just two for Maryland Eastern Shore.
After a slow start to the game, the Spartans scored seven in a row, taking a 10-6 lead seven and a half minutes into the contest. The Hawks fought back, taking a four-point lead with six minutes to go in the half.
Jenkins, however, knocked down a pair from deep to kick start the Spartans to end the half. They scored 10 in a row to eventually go into the break ahead 29-23.
AJ Cheeseman totaled 15 points to lead the Hawks. They outscored NSU 34-10 in points in the paint and 10-0 in fastbreak points. The Spartans held a 19-7 edge in second-chance points thanks to 14 offensive boards.
They finished with 14 more attempts from the free throw line than Maryland Eastern Shore, which was 10-of-12.
NSU will host South Carolina State next Saturday at 6:30 p.m.