HAWKS RETURN FROM CHRISTMAS BREAK TO FACE AMERICAN
Ishaq Pitt (pictured) will look to help UMES secture the series advantage against American on Sunday
Ishaq Pitt (pictured) will look to help UMES secture the series advantage against American on Sunday

Dec. 28, 2013

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PRINCESS ANNE, Md. – The University of Maryland Eastern Shore men’s basketball team will play its final home game of the 2013 calendar year on Sunday, Dec. 29, as the Hawks are set for battle with American University at 2 p.m. The Hawks look to take the advantage in the history of the series as the pair has split the past four contests. UMES is undefeated all-time at home against AU.

UMES (2-7) will play in its first game in nearly a week after the men fell to Wilmington University, 65-62, at the Hytche last Monday. The Hawks led for the majority of the game, but a late Wildcat rally proved to be too much for the Hawks to handle. Senior Louis Bell (Washington, D.C.) led the charge with a season-high 15 points. It was the first loss for a Hawk outfit against a non-Division I opponent in its last 18 tries, a span that dated back to 1992.

The Hawks enter the game averaging 65 points-per-game, nearly four points better than American’s 61.7. American (3-7) has shot well from the floor of late and is shooting nearly over 45-percent from the floor. UMES holds a substantial advantage in rebounding (+5) and free-throws (+6.3%). The teams are just about even in turnover differential and from long-range. AU is just 1-for-6 on the road this season.

UMES is being led by the long-range efforts of junior KyRee Jones (Indianapolis, Ind.), who is shooting 43-percent from three-point range with a team-high 17.0 ppg. The Eagles top scorer is also their best shooter from deep as John Schoof is averaging 12.2 ppg. Schoof has made 3.2 made shots from long-range per game through 10 games this year. Senior center Francis Ezeiru (Enugu, Nigeria) will have his work cut out for him as AU’s Tony Wroblicky has rebounded well (5.3 rpg).

The teams share three common opponents this year in Columbia, UMBC and Mount St. Mary’s. AU defeated UMBC by three points in overtime on Nov. 14, but fell to The Mount , 68-64, on Nov. 23. The pair was each defeated on the road at Columbia. UMES and AU each went 1-2 in the three games.

Let’s check out a few game notes for the upcoming game:

• LAST TIME OUT: UMES fell to the hands of Wilmington University, 65-62, on Saturday, Dec. 21. The loss was the first for the Hawks against a non-Division I opponent in the last 18 tries, a span that dated back to 1992. The men held a nine-point lead with just over 10 minutes remaining in the game, but a furious rally by Wilmington proved to be too much to handle

HAWKS PUTTING IT ON THE EAGLES AT HOME: The Hawks are undefeated at home in their history against American. The Hawks hold a +9 margin against the Eagles across two home wins, including a 64-62 victory over AU on Nov. 4, 2011. The teams have played against each other each of the last four years while rotating home and away during that span

• PREVIOUS AMERICAN MATCHUP: UMES dropped a 63-49 decision at American on Jan. 3, 2013. Troy Snyder had a team-high 13 points, while Louis Bell had six points and was 3-for-4 from the free-throw line. The Hawks were down by four points in the middle of the second half, but American closed the game on an 18-8 run to post their fifth win of the year

FREE THROWS WIN BALLGAMES!: UMES stands amongst the top in the MEAC in free-throw percentage. The team has been one of the MEAC’s best free-throw shooting teams all year from and have four players shooting atleast 75-percent. The Hawks have gone to the free-throw line atleast 17 times in every game, including a season-high 37 chances against Salisbury

• 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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