Francis Ezeiru

Feb. 2, 2013

PRINCESS ANNE, Md. --Losing its last two contests in Florida by a combined two points and in the last minute of games that it was fighting to win, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore returns home to redeem its losses. UMES hosts North Carolina A&T Saturday at 4 p.m. With a record of 1-15 overall and 1-4 in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play, the Hawks will face two competitive MEAC opponents Saturday and Monday afternoon.

There was no sun for the Hawks in the "Sunshine State" as it dropped a last second game (55-54) to Florida A&M January 26, then battled back against Bethune-Cookman to fall to the Wildcats (58-57) on January 28.

Led in both games by Kevin Mays who had double-double performances, Francis Ezeiru contributed on the boards to keep UMES within a fighting chance of winning.

Mays scored 20 points against Florida A&M and Bethune-Cookman, while grabbing 13 and 11 rebounds, respectively. Since Mays joined the line-up against Connecticut (Dec. 17), he has scored double figures in five of the seven games he has played in this season. In his first MEAC game (Norfolk State, Jan. 12) he scored a career-high 27 points while shooting better than 80-percent from the field (10-of-12).

Ezeiru began the season as rebounding force, but was replaced in the line-up to give UMES a healthier floor presence. With him back in the rotation, UMES has out-performed its conference opponents in the last four games in the rebounding category. Its largest and most dominating presence this season on the boards was in a 57-35 (+22) rebounding advantage it held over Florida A&M.

The Hawks have done much of what has been asked; win the rebounding battle, present a scorer and slow the opponent's transition offense. UMES is winning on the boards, which it needs to continue Saturday, but it must also add more scorers to the stat sheet. The Hawks are averaging two double figure scorers over its last few games. Spreading the points around the floor should help keep the defense from shutting down one player.



With spreading the points around, UMES must also take high percentage shots, and make its free throws. The Hawks are shooting approximately 65 percent at the free-throw line, but needs to make at least 75 percent of those when attempting at least 20 free throws in a game.

UMES is on the hunt for wins with a limited amount of time before the MEAC Tournament March 11-16. Saturday could be the Hawks' chance to fly in the right direction.

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