UMES OPENS UP MEAC PLAY WITH TILT AT SAVANNAH STATE
Jan. 5, 2014
SAVANNAH, Ga. - The University of Maryland Eastern Shore men's basketball team will open up their Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference schedule on Monday night as the Hawks will take on Savannah State at Tiger Arena at 8 p.m. The game is the third of UMES' current four-game road trip. Monday's contest marks the first time this season that the Hawks will have their entire roster healthy and cleared to play.
UMES is looking to post its first ever win over Savannah State. The Tigers come into the match undefeated all-time against UMES as they have won three contests since 2011, including a pair last season. SSU defeated the Hawks, 71-54, in the final regular season game, before they beat UMES by 15 in the MEAC Tournament First Round four days later.
The Hawks are looking to build off of their strong second-half play over the past three games. Over that 60 minute stretch, UMES is shooting over 45-percent from the floor and have hold a +2 point margin. Junior KyRee Jones (Indianapolis, Ind.) tallied a team-high 18 points, while senior Troy Snyder (Chicago, I.) had eight boards. Jones has been the sparkplug for the Hawks all season with team-highs in points-per-game (16.4), free-throw percentage (85%) and three-point percentage (36%).
Freshman Hakeem Baxter (Philadelphia, Pa.) has recovered from a minor injury and will return to the starting lineup. Baxter has been named MEAC Rookie of the Week twice this season and is averaging 14.4 ppg and 4.4 rpg. Freshman Devon Walker (Philadelphia, Pa.) found a hot hand against Mississippi State with a 3-for-4 performance from long range and junior Isaac Smith III (Chicago, Ill.) has played a very versatile role.
Savannah State will rely on Deven Williams and Jyles Smith to get the job done. Williams single handily grounded the Hawks last season as he tallied 13 three-pointers in two games, including a 6-for-7 effort in the MEAC Tournament. Smith is leading the Tigers with 35 blocks and 7.7 rpg. Savannah State is 14-2 at home in the MEAC since joining the conference in 2011. The Tigers have the MEAC's worst scoring offense as they are averaging just 59.2 ppg in 14 contests.
Let's take a look at a few game notes for the matchup:
LAST TIME OUT: UMES fell to the hands of Mississippi State, 77-63, on Thursday, Jan. 2 in Starkville, Miss. The men engaged in an early battle, but an 8-0 run by the Bulldogs midway through the first proved to be too much for the Hawks to crack. UMES shot 51% from the floor in the second-frame and tallied 43 points, their second highest total in the second-half this year
SECOND-HALF FIRE: In its past three games, UMES is shooting over 45% from the floor (39-for-86) in the second-half. The Hawks hold a +2 margin in the second half of the past three games. They have scored 43 points twice in that span and tallied a 53.1% clip at Mississippi State in their last game
SSU TOUGH AT HOME IN MEAC PLAY: The Tigers hold a 27-6 record at Tiger Arena since joining the MEAC Conference in 2011. The team is 14-2 in MEAC contests over the past three years, including an 8-0 mark in 2011. SSU defeated UMES in the last game of the regular season last season. It was the team's sixth MEAC win at home of the year
TEN CONFERENCES: Including today's game, UMES has played against teams from 10 different conferences this year. The list the Ivy League, Northeast, SEC, ACC, PAC 12, Big 10, Patriot, Capital Athletic, Central Atlantic Collegiate and MEAC
JONES IN DOUBLE-DIGITS: KyRee Jones has posted eight games in double digits this season. He has 15 points in four of the past five games and is averaging 17.8 ppg in that time. He has five consecutive games in double-figures. The streak is the highest since Troy Snyder had six a year ago
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