In many respects, Thursday’s nonconference game between the College of Southern Maryland men’s basketball team and the visiting St. Mary’s College of Maryland junior varsity squad offered the players and coaches a chance to get more experience.
After the two teams appeared on even terms through the first 15 minutes of play on Thursday, CSM used a 16-0 run to forge a 55-33 halftime lead and the Hawks would start the second half nearly as quickly en route to a 108-79 victory over St. Mary’s. It was the fourth straight win for the Hawks and the team’s sixth win in its last seven contests before an 85-75 loss to CCBC-Dundalk in a Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference contest on Saturday.
“For us, it was all about working on a lot of things defensively,” said CSM head coach Alan Hoyt, a Great Mills High School graduate who is in his 13th year with the Hawks. “Our first goal was to try and hold them under 30 points in the first half. We still have to do a better job of defending the three-point shooters. They had too many open looks from out there. But it was our fourth straight win, so I’ll take that.”
To say the St. Mary’s JV team is young would be a serious understatement. The Seahawks brought seven players, six of whom were freshmen. Justin Oates led the way for the visitors in a losing cause with 29 points, including five three-pointers in the second half. Adam Bonanno provided 10 points off the bench, including a pair of three-pointers in the second half. The teams combined to hit 27 threes in the contest, 14 coming from St. Mary’s.
“I thought this was a great opportunity for our young guys to get some playing time,” said St. Mary’s men’s JV coach Matt Howerton, who is an assistant with the Seahawks’ men’s basketball program under head coach Chris Harney and is also serving as interim head coach for the women’s basketball team. “All but one of the guys we brought are freshmen. A lot of them want to get playing time on the varsity team the next three years. They’re working to get that chance. With a small, young group, I thought we did a lot of good things.”
CSM’s Warrick Godwin (27 points) connected on five three-point field goals in the first half, three during a stretch in which St. Mary’s got two from Jalen Hayes and another from Oates. Godwin and Desha Curtis had buckets inside for the Hawks, but the Seahawks stayed within single-digits on a layup from Bonanno that trimmed the gap to 37-29 with five minutes left in the half.
But the hosts responded with a 16-0 run as Curtis added two more baskets inside and Godwin and Armon Williams each had a three-point field goal. Godwin and Shawn Barclay (a Thomas Stone High School graduate from Waldorf) also added buckets inside as the Hawks pushed the lead to 53-29 with two minutes left in the half. Nyrell Thomas finally ended the Seahawks’ drought with a pair of free throws with 1 minute 24 seconds to play before the break.
“Really, I thought it was our defense,” Hoyt said. “We were able to create some turnovers and we didn’t give up many open looks. i thought we rebounded the ball well, too. We didn’t give them too many second chances in the first half. We wanted to hold them under 30 in the first half and they were still at 29 with under two minutes left.”
Lelan Eackles (a St. Mary’s Ryken High School graduate from Waldorf) and Godwin opened the second half with a three-pointer each and moments later Williams pushed the Hawks’ lead beyond 30 points for the first time at 70-39. Over the next two minutes, the Hawks got three-pointers from Williams and Barclay, but the Seahawks countered with three-pointers of their own from Bonanno, Hayes and Oates to stay within range at 87-66.
Despite another three-pointer from Oates and Thomas, however, St. Mary’s could not get much closer. CSM closed out the contest on a 13-5 run with buckets inside from Eackles and Barclay and Curtis also connected on his lone three-pointer of the afternoon. Thomas’ three-pointer with 2:30 remaining was the final bucket of the outing for the Seahawks.
“Considering we started the season, 2-5, 8-6 sounds pretty good,” Hoyt said. “Now we have a tough slate of road games ahead of us. We have some tough conference and Region XX games coming up and we don’t have another home game until Jan. 27. It will be a tough stretch of games, but for now I’ll take our four-game win streak.”
CSM (8-7, 1-2 MDJUCO) saw its winning streak end with Saturday’s loss at Dundalk.
The teams were tied at 40 at halftime, then Dundalk came through with a 10-point win. Godwin led the Hawks with 25 points.
CSM is next scheduled to play a MDJUCO contest at Chesapeake at 7 p.m. Friday.
CSM women win
The College of Southern Maryland women’s basketball team picked up an 81-56 nonconference road win over Cheney University of Pennsylvania on Saturday.
CSM led 25-9 after a quarter and 41-23 at halftime en route to the victory, the Hawks’ first of the 2020 portion of their schedule.
Karalina Lawrence scored 30 points to lead the team, while Amaya Yancey finished with 22. Kirsten Hamilton (a Great Mills High School graduate from Ridge) added 11 points and Virginia Houston contributed 10.
CSM (5-6, 1-1) will play next at Chesapeake at 5 p.m. Friday just before the men’s teams play.