HAWKS LOOK TO MAKE STATEMENT AGAINST PURDUE ON ESPN3
Dec. 16, 2013
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The University of Maryland Eastern Shore men’s basketball team has made its way through the snow and into the heart of Indiana, as the Hawks are set to take on Purdue at Mackey Arena on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. The game is set to be aired on ESPN3 with Mike Couzens and Kevin Lehman on the call. It is the third of three nationally televised games UMES will participate in this year.
UMES (2-5) is being led on the year by junior KyRee Jones (Indianapolis, Ind.) and freshman Hakeem Baxter (Philadelphia, Pa.). Jones returns to his old stomping grounds looking to build on a 16.0 points-per-game average, including a 21 point effort against Oregon State on Sunday. Baxter leads the Hawks with a 16.4 ppg average and has backed up his Lindy’s Sports MEAC Newcomer of the Year prediction with a pair of MEAC Rookie of the Week distinctions (Nov. 26, Dec. 9).
The Hawks are dominating the offensive glass with a +10 margin on the year and are playing solid defense with one of the MEAC’s best stealing groups. The maroon and gray have six players with atleast five steals on the year. Despite being on the wrong end of a substantial size advantage, UMES has held its own when its big men have stayed out of foul trouble.
Purdue has a perfect record of 7-0 at Mackey Arena this season and are 7-0 all-time against MEAC schools. The Boilermakers are playing just their fifth ever contest against a Maryland school. They began the season with a 5-0 record, but have gone just 3-3 since Nov. 28. A pair of brothers, Terone and Ronnie Johnson, is leading the way with 13.5 and 11.3 ppg, respectively. The Boilermakers have four rookies that are accounting for 38-percent of their offense.
Let’s take a look at a few game notes for the matchup:
• LAST TIME OUT: UMES dropped a 98-66 decision at Oregon State on Sunday, Dec. 15. The Hawks trailed the Beavers by just one point at halftime, before Oregon State went on a 13-3 run to open the second. The Hawks ran into foul trouble and were hurt by a size advantage as the Beavers shot over 50% from the ﬂoor in the game. KyRee Jones had a team-high 21 points in the game
• BAXTER BACKING IT UP: Freshman Hakeem Baxter has been nothing short of brilliant to open his collegiate career. He has been named MEAC Rookie of the Week twice (Nov. 25 & Dec. 9) and leads the Hawks in six statistical categories, including ppg (16.4) and free-throws (46-of-58). He has scored atleast 15 points in ﬁve of UMES’ seven games
• HEIGHT DOESN’T MATTER: Despite having a disadvantage in size in six of their ﬁrst seven games, the Hawks are holding their own on the glass. The men have an 94-84 advantage in offensive rebounds and have been outrebounded by just 13 rebounds combined. Francis Ezeiru leads with 45 rebounds (6.4 rpg). The team has just two players standing 6’6 or taller on its active roster
• A STEALING BUNCH: The Hawks have seen 12-of-14 players on their roster record steals this season. The Hawks stand third in the MEAC with an average of 7.4 steals-per-game. KyRee Jones leads the team with seven, while eight others have atleast four steals. The Hawks have ten more steals than their opponents
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