Hawks Tip Off Homestand against Aggies
PRINCESS ANNE, Maryland -
Maryland Eastern Shore men’s basketball (5-15, 1-4) opens up a long residency at their own Hytche Athletic Center on Saturday afternoon against North Carolina A&T State (11-8, 4-0). Tip from the Hytche is set for approximately 4 p.m.
Last Time Out
Eastern Shore saw another big lead disappear late as South Carolina State fought back from 13 down in the second half to win 66-62 on Monday in Orangeburg. Ahmad Frost bounced back from a rough Saturday with a game-high 16 points, including his third four-point play in five conference games. Logan McIntosh shot 5-for-7 for 13 points, while Cameron Bacote added 10 of his own.
This will be the 85th matchup between the Hawks and Aggies. North Carolina A&T holds a 53-31 series lead, but The Shore swept all three matchups last season.
The Hawks knocked off the Aggies 99-88 in Greensboro on Jan. 9, 2017, then survived a 106-95 triple-overtime thriller in Princess Anne on Feb. 20. Eastern Shore then ended NCAT’s season in the first round of the MEAC Tournament on Mar. 6. An early second half surge propelled the fifth-seeded Hawks to a 75-65 win over the No. 12 Aggies. Bakari Copeland just missed a double-double with 25 points and nine rebounds, while Ryan Andino hit five threes for 15 points.
Hawk Quick Shots
Monday’s loss was the Hawks’ third in their last five games after leading with less than five minutes to play. Eastern Shore failed to protect large leads late in games against Morgan State and Bethune-Cookman earlier this month.
Ahmad Frost and Tyler Jones both rank in the top 12 in conference scoring. Frost is averaging 17.6 points over his first five MEAC games, while Tyler Jones is pouring in 16.6 points of his own. Four other teams have at least two players in the top 12 in scoring, while Bethune-Cookman leads the way with three.
Eastern Shore is at the beginning of a three-week stretch almost exclusively at home. Monday the Hawks welcome defending league champs North Carolina Central to Princess Anne, then next Saturday Howard comes to town. After a short trip to in-state rival Coppin State on Jan. 29, The Shore is off on Feb. 3 before hosting Florida A&M on Feb. 5. The Hawks’ next faraway road game will be Feb. 10 at Bethune-Cookman.
4 – Hawks averaging 10+ points in MEAC play (Frost, Jones, McIntosh, Miryne Thomas)
.462 – Field goal percentage for The Shore in conference games (fourth in MEAC)
7 – Double digit scoring efforts from Ahmad Frost in his last eight games (15.9 points per game)
About North Carolina A&T State
The 11-8 Aggies were picked to finish last in the MEAC this season but are far from a last place team, currently sitting tied atop the league standings with fellow 4-0 teams N.C. Central and Bethune-Cookman.
North Carolina A&T won just eight games in the first season-and-a-half of the Jay Joyner era. This year the revamped Aggies have already surpassed that total. NCAT won seven games in nonconference play, including five against Division I foes and road triumphs at Jacksonville and East Carolina. The Aggies has started MEAC play a surprising 4-0, including a two-point win over league favorite Morgan State on Jan. 13 and a long-delayed win over Norfolk State on Thursday.
Junior forward Femi Olujobi has taken the MEAC by storm from the inside. The Long Islander is third in the league in scoring (19.0 PPG) and fourth in rebounding (7.6 RPG) and is shooting 54 percent from the floor. The Oakland University transfer has crossed the 20-point threshold 10 times this season and has notched six double-doubles, including a monster 37-point, 18-rebound effort in a Nov. 18 overtime win at Jacksonville.
Now in his second full season in charge in Greensboro, Aggie boss Jay Joyner finally has a team of his own image. Only five A&T players remain from last year’s dreadful three-win squad, complimented by 11 newcomers, including likely All-MEAC selection Femi Olujobi. Joyner took over as interim head coach of the Aggies in January 2016, sweating out five wins and earning the full-time position just before NCAT’s MEAC Tournament game against Coppin State that season.
Monday’s game will be broadcast locally on flagship radio station Fox Sports 960 AM WTGM and online at EasternShoreHawks.com. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. or 30 minutes following the conclusion of the Eastern Shore-NCAT women’s basketball game, which tips at 2. Pregame coverage starts at approximately 3:45 p.m. with Will DeBoer on the call for The Shore Sports Network.
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