UMES TO FACE NORFOLK STATE IN MEAC HOME OPENER
Jan. 11, 2014
PRINCESS ANNE, Md. – The University of Maryland Eastern Shore men’s basketball team has returned home from its recent 11-day road trip to face off with Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference leader, Norfolk State, on Saturday at the William P. Hytche Athletic Center. The Hawks are looking for to stamp their first MEAC win of the season in the game.
UMES (2-12, 0-2 MEAC) has lost its 10 games after beginning the season 2-2. The men have put together outstanding second-half performance in three of their past four games as the Hawks hold a +4 margin during that span. UMES has won both of its games this year at home by a combined margin of +31, including a 78-71 victory over Mount St. Mary’s in November. The men hold a +20 rebounding advantage in wins at home this year.
The Hawks have lost their last four against Norfolk State. The streak dates back to 2011 and UMES has lost by an average of 11.3 points during the four. In the last matchup, UMES dropped an 85-63 decision at NSU last February, but junior Troy Snyder (Chicago, Ill.) had a team-high 10 rebounds and nine points. The Hawks used two threes by senior Louis Bell (Washington, D.C.) to spearhead the charge.
UMES will need a big performance from its big men in the paint as the backcourt may need additional help in securing a win. The Hawks were outrebounded by their opponents by 40 during their past road trip, but strong play from freshman Hakeem Baxter (Philadelphia, Pa.) and junior KyRee Jones (Indianapolis, Ind.) has made up for it.
Baxter scored 23 points against South Carolina State and looks to be fully healthy from an injury that kept him sidelined a few games earlier in the year. The two-time MEAC Rookie of the Week is averaging 14.9 ppg and is bringing down 4.5 rpg. Jones has scored seven consecutive games in double-digits, three of which have eclipsed 20 points. He recently ended a consecutive free-throw made streak of 20, but the number still stands as the highest total of the year in the conference.
NSU (8-7) is alone atop the standings in the MEAC this year with a 2-0 record. The Spartans have won 21 consecutive games dating back to Feb. 16, 2012. The team is being led by Malcolm Hawkins, who is averaging 17.4 ppg to spearhead a Spartan league-leading scoring offense of 80.0 ppg. Brandon Goode is averaging nearly three blocks a game and the team is bringing down a +2 margin on the glass. MEAC Preseason Player of the Year and Lindy’s Sports Best NBA Prospect, Pendarvis Williams, has also done well this season with 15.9 ppg.
Let’s take a look at a few game notes of today’s matchup:
• LAST TIME OUT: UMES fell in the ﬁnal game of its four-game road trip on Wednesday night, as the Hawks were upended at South Carolina State, 78-71. KyRee Jones was 9-of-10 from the free-throw line to take over the longest consecutive free-throws made streak in the MEAC this season. The Hawks outscored the Bulldogs by three, 41-38, in the second half
• MATCHUP AGAINST NSU: UMES has lost its last four games against NSU. The men have lost by less than six points twice to NSU, including a 63-58 decision at home last year. The Hawks last won against the Spartans, 88-85, on Feb. 5, 2011. UMES shot 55% in the game to hold off a late NSU charge
• JONES’ FREE-THROW STREAK: Despite missing last game, KyRee Jones still holds the longest free-throw streak in the MEAC this year. He had made 20 in a row before a miss on his ﬁfth opportunity against SCSU. He has made 25 of his last 26 shots and sits third in the MEAC at 88.1%. NSU’s Malcolm Hawkins has the longest active streak with 18 in a row
• 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 ten games in double digits this season. He has 15 points in six of the past seven games and is averaging 18.0 ppg across his last seven games. He has had seven consecutive games in double-ﬁgures, the most since Hillary Haley’s 10 in 2011
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