Hawks survive Valley Forge to fight another day
PRINCESS ANNE, Maryland -
The University of Maryland Eastern Shore (3-12) picked up its third win of the season and its first of 2017 on Monday night (Jan. 2) as the Hawks topped Valley Forge 90-65.
“It was nice to be the big boy for once,” head coach Bobby Collins said. “It has been a tough road. We played some tough teams early and we needed a game like this to get the rust off before we get to conference play.”
Valley Forge (4-6) is a National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) Division II opponent in its third year of provisional membership in NCAA Division III. The Patriots trailed 54-35 at the half, but competed after the break being outscored just 36-30 in the second half.
“I wish we would have played a little bit better defensively,” Collins said. “We had a pact that we didn’t want them to score more than 45 points and you can see how we did with that. In the second half, we did a little bit better, but not much. We have to do a better job defending and focusing on our defense. With a team like this, they should not have scored as many as they did.
“It was a bitter-sweet win.”
Valley Forge shot 47 percent from the field in the first half, but 38 percent in the second half against that better defensive effort.
Junior Ryan Andino (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) led all scorers with 23 points on 7-of-18 shooting including 6-of-15 from behind the arc.
Senior Bakari Copeland (Decatur, Georgia) finished with 22 points on a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line, 6-of-7 from the field to go with four rebounds, three assists and two steals.
“I told him he had to be a little bit stingy,” Collins said. “There were a couple times where he had an opportunity to finish and he didn’t. He has to be stingy like that. I told him tonight should have been a stat-stuffer for him especially rebounding. To me four rebounds is not enough.”
Tyler Jones came off the bench to score 19 points and also picked up five rebounds, a block and three steals. It was the freshman’s second double-digit scoring output of the season with the other also coming at home against UMBC.
“He is a talent,” Collins said. “I’m trying to get him to play with that aggression every night. Playing well at home is a good thing because we need to be able to protect home court and we need him to score like that for us.”
Sophomore Dontae Caldwell (Santa Ana, California) finished with 14 points, four rebounds, three assists and a steal, while junior Logan McIntosh (Atlanta, Georgia) dished out 10 assists and grabbed three boards in 33 minutes.
The victory marks the end of the nonconference portion of the schedule.
“What I’m going to take form this game is the rust and the rest,” Collins said. “We needed a game heading into conference play. I’m going to take the win, enjoy it and move on.”
The Hawks will now hit the road once again, but this time to kick off the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference portion of the schedule. The Shore will play a men’s and women’s doubleheader at North Carolina Central on Jan. 7, beginning at 2 p.m. and then North Carolina A&T on Jan. 9 beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Games can be heard locally on Fox Sports Radio 960 AM WTGM or on www.EasternShoreHawks.com. Will DeBoer and will have the call Jan. 7 from Durham on The Shore Sports Network.
Season tickets for the 2016-2017 season are on sale now starting at just $125, for all men’s and women’s home games. Did you know that a purchasing a season ticket helps all sports at Maryland Eastern Shore, not just basketball? To purchase season tickets, click here. For more information about the 1ticKet Drive, log on to the web at easternshorehawks.com or call 410-651-6499. It’s time to show your #HawkPride!
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