UMES CAPS FOUR-GAME ROADTRIP AT S.C. STATE ON WEDNESDAY
Jan. 8, 2014
ORANGEBURG, S.C. – The University of Maryland Eastern Shore men’s basketball team will conclude its longest road trip of the season on Wednesday night as the Hawks cap an 11-day expedition with a game at South Carolina State at 7:30 p.m. The Hawks will look to secure the first win of the trip as they have fallen in the previous three road matchups.
UMES (2-11) has dropped nine straight after beginning the season 2-2. The trip to Orangeburg has been tough on previous Hawk teams as the team has not won in their past nine games at the SHM Memorial Center. UMES is winless at SCSU since 1999 and have won just twice against the Bulldogs in the past 10 matchups. A game has not been played between the two since Jan. 8, 2011.
The Hawks are shooting the ball well from the free-throw line (70-percent) and have the least turnovers of any team in the MEAC. Despite a smaller lineup, UMES is holding its own on the glass as well (34 rpg). The team has continued to change their starting lineup to find the perfect fit against their opponents, where UMES will implement its eighth new starting five in as many games against SCSU.
Junior KyRee Jones (Indianapolis, Ind.) has led the charge for the Hawks so far this season. He is among the MEAC’s best in scoring (16.5 ppg) and free-throws (88-percent). Jones has made his last 16 free-throw attempts, including a 10-for-10 performance at Savannah State on Monday. The streak is currently the second longest in the conference.
Following Jones is freshman Hakeem Baxter (Philadelphia, Pa.), who has returned to the starting lineup after a minor injury. The Lindy’s Sport MEAC Preseason Player of the Year has already received two MEAC Rookie of the Week honors and is averaging 14.1 ppg, including a career-high 28 at UMBC in December. Junior Troy Snyder (Chicago, Ill.), senior Pina Guillaume (N’Djamena, Chad) and senior Francis Ezeiru (Enugu, Nigeria) add size to UMES’ starting lineup for tonight’s game.
South Carolina State (4-9) will play its first MEAC contest of the season. The Bulldogs have defeated just one Division I team this season as they have posted two wins over Coastal Carolina. This season, SCSU is holding its own on the glass (-1.6) and are shooting just over 40-percent from the floor. They are being led by MEAC Preseason First Team honoree Matthew Hezekiah, who is averaging 12.9 ppg. Devin Joint is bringing down a team-high 6.5 rpg, while Theron Stephens is shooting 44-percent from long-range.
Let’s take a look at a few game notes of the matchup:
• LAST TIME OUT: UMES was defeated by Savannah State, 66-42, in their Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opener on Monday night at Tiger Arena. Down by 13 points with 18 minutes remaining, the Hawks went on one of their best runs of the year with a 10-2 push, but it would be thwarted, as UMES was outscored 24-5 by SSU in the final 12 minutes of action.
• JONES’ CURRENT FREE-THROW STREAK: KyRee Jones currently has the second longest consecutive free-throws made streak in the MEAC. He has made his past 16 from the free-throw line, a span that covers the past 96 minutes and 2.5 games. Norfolk State’s Malcolm Hawkins has the longest streak in the MEAC at 18, while Coppin’s Daquan Brickhouse is third at 15
• TOUGH NIGHT FROM THE FLOOR: UMES scored just 43 points and shot 22% from the floor in Monday night’s loss at Savannah State. The last time a MEAC opponent held the Hawks to such a point total was on March 4, 2010 vs. Delaware St. (37 points). UMES has had 17 games under 43 points since 2000, including five during Frankie Allen’s six-year tenure
• TEN CONFERENCES: Including this week’s games, UMES has played against teams from 10 different conferences this year. The list includes the Ivy, NEC, SEC, ACC, PAC 12, Big 10, Patriot, Capital Athletic, CACC and MEAC
• JONES IN DOUBLE-DIGITS: KyRee Jones has posted nine games in double digits this season. He has 15 points in five of the past six games and is averaging 17.7 ppg in that time. He has had six consecutive games in double figures. The streak is the highest since Hillary Haley had 10 three years a
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