Jordan Parks scored a game-high 20 points as the visiting North Carolina Central Eagles held off the UMES Hawks, 68-63, on Friday night in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opener for both teams at Hytche Arena in Princess Anne.
North Carolina Central (5-3) is the defending MEAC champion, but the Hawks stayed close throughout. The lead swung back and forth throughout the second half, and UMES (3-7) went up 49-48 on guard Devon Walker's 3-pointer with 7:38 left.
But North Carolina Central scored the next six points, four of which came on dunks from Parks, and the Eagles never trailed again. Parks, a forward, scored 10 points in each half.
UMES cut the lead back to 58-56 on two free throws from center Mike Myers with 2:02 left, but the Eagles held off the Hawks after that.
North Carolina Central made 25 of 31 from the free-throw line, including several key ones in the final minutes.
Myers led UMES with 18 points. Guard Devin Martin added 13, and guard Ryan Andino scored 11 in the loss.
North Carolina Central returns home Sunday to host MEAC foe Howard. UMES also plays a conference game next, hosting North Carolina A&T on Monday night.
UMBC 76, Columbia 66: Capree Garner scored a game-high and career-best 28 points to lead the Retrievers (4-3) in a come-from-behind victory over the host Lions (3-6).
In the second half, UMBC used a 24-4 run and outscored Columbia 47-27. The victory ended a three-game Retrievers losing streak.
First-half turnovers and foul troubles helped Columbia to a 10-point advantage at the break.