HAWKS BACK ON THE BIG SCREEN, PLAY VIRGINIA TECH ON NEW YEARS EVE ON ESPN3
Dec. 31, 2013
BLACKSBURG, Va. – For the fourth time this season, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore men’s basketball team will be on the big screen of your living room, as the Hawks are set to play at Virginia Tech on New Years Eve on ESPN3 at 4 p.m. The game is the first of four consecutive contests on the road for UMES as the Hawks embark on an 11 day roadtrip across the Southeast.
The matchup marks the first time that Head Coach Frankie Allen returns to Cassell Coliseum as an opposing head coach. Allen had previously coached at Virginia Tech from 1987-91, where he led the Hokies to a 56-61 record in four seasons. It is the second time he has coached against the Hokies in his 24-year coaching career, as he was assistant coach at Radford when RU played Virginia Tech in 2005.
The Hawks are looking for big play from their backcourt in the game. Junior KyRee Jones (Indianapolis, Ind.) is averaging a team-high 16.4 points-per-game (91st in nation) and has scored double-digits in every game so far. He leads the Hawks with a 40% clip from long-range and stands second on the team in both assists (18) and steals (nine). Freshman Hakeem Baxter (Philadelphia, Pa.) is averaging just over 13 ppg and has already won a pair of MEAC Player of the Week distinctions this year.
Junior Isaac Smith (Chicago, Ill.) has spearheaded a Hawk charge that has stolen 72 balls this year with a +14 advantage. The men have put together a solid effort on the offensive glass (131) and have all three of their starting guards shooting atleast 75-percent from the free-throw line.
Virginia Tech is 24-0 all-time against opponents from the MEAC, including a 4-0 mark against UMES. The Hokies are 7-3 in games covered by ESPN this year. The team is led by Jarell Eddie, who is averaging team-highs in ppg (17.4) and rpg (6.1).
He was named ACC Player of the Week on Dec. 9. Joey van Zergeren has 35 blocks in 12 games and C.J. Barksdale is shooting nearly perfect (90%) from the free-throw line. The Hokies own nearly a 4-point scoring margin and are shooting 44% from the floor.
Let's check out a few game notes for the matchup:
• LAST TIME OUT: UMES dropped a 71-58 decision at home against American on Sunday, Dec. 29. Down by 15, UMES used an 8-1 run to cut the game to within seven, 59-52, with five minutes left. AU would control the tempo the rest of the way to secure the victory. Hakeem Baxter led UMES with 13 points in the game, while Shane Randall scored a career-high 10 points
• BACK TO THEIR ROOTS: Three of UMES’ five coaches are native to the areas surrounding Blacksburg. Head Coach Frankie Allen served as a Head Coach at Va. Tech for four seasons and was an Virginia Sports Hall of Fame honoree at Roanoke College. Asst. coaches Curtis Peery and Charles Fasnacht each grew up in Salem, Va. Peery was a basketball star at Roanoke College and was named to the school’s All-Century Team in 2012
• DON’T EXPECT THE TURNOVER: The Hawks have turned the ball over the least of any MEAC school this season as UMES is averaging just 13.0 turnovers-per-game. The men have turned the ball over less than 15 times in all but one game this season, including two games under 10
• FREE THROWS WIN BALLGAMES!: UMES has shot atleast 70% in 6-of-10 games this season and have been one of the MEAC’s best free-throw shooting teams all year. The men have four players shooting atleast 75-percent from the line. The Hawks have gone to the free-throw line atleast 17 times in every game, including a season-high 37 chances against Salisbury
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