Hawks Open Tar Heel Swing at N.C. Central
PRINCESS ANNE, Maryland -
Getting their latest crack at the defending league champions, Maryland Eastern Shore men’s basketball (6-21, 2-10 MEAC) opens a two-game swing through the Tar Heel State at North Carolina Central (12-13, 6-5 MEAC) on Saturday afternoon. Tip from McDougald-McLendon Gymnasium is set for approximately 4 p.m.
Last Time Out
Eastern Shore managed just 16 points in the first half as Howard throttled the Hawks for an 84-56 win on Monday night in Washington, D.C. Miryne Thomas scored all 18 of his points in the second half and hauled in 11 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the year. Tyler Jones netted 15 points, and Colen Gaynor added 10.
Associate Head Coach Clifford Reed on the Matchup
“On the one hand, [the Eagles] are trending down and not playing as well as they have earlier in the season. …On the other hand, they are mad and they’ve had a whole week to prepare, and they’ll have a great home crowd behind them. I’m sure [head coach LeVelle Moton] is doing what we’re doing, working hard to rally the troops.”
This will be the 34th matchup between the Hawks and the Eagles. N.C. Central has won 12 straight in the series and leads in the all-time wins column 20-13. Eastern Shore has not beaten NCCU since winning in Durham on Jan. 21, 2009, when the Eagles were transitioning from Division II to Division I. The Hawks last beat the Eagles as full-fledged members of the MEAC during the 1979-80 season before the MEAC itself was reclassified from Division II to Division I.
The Eagles came to the Hytche Center on Jan. 22 and escaped with a 63-60 win, despite Logan McIntosh’s career-high 26 points for The Shore. Miryne Thomas had a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Hawks. Reggie Gardner, Jr. and Raasean Davis combined for 35 points for N.C. Central, while Jordan Perkins stuffed the stat sheet with nine points, six rebounds, and six assists.
Hawk Quick Shots
The Hawks’ 16 points in the first half on Monday at Howard were their fewest since netting just 16 in one half on Dec. 10 at Liberty. Eastern Shore has failed to crack 20 points in the first half seven times this season.
Miryne Thomas was named MEAC Co-Rookie of the Week on Tuesday, sharing the honor with Howard’s R.J. Cole. Thomas averaged 19.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in the two games at Bethune-Cookman and Howard, notching a career-high 21 points last Saturday in Daytona Beach. The weekly honor was the first for any Hawk since Bakari Copeland and Derrico Peck won Player and Defensive Player of the Week, respectively, last Jan. 30.
Sophomore forward Tyler Jones is the only Hawk to start all 27 games this season. Last year, forwards Bakari Copeland and Isaac Taylor both started all 34 games for Eastern Shore. Jones leads the team in scoring in MEAC play, netting 14.6 points in conference games this season.
Eastern Shore concludes its North Carolina trip with its final road game of the regular season on Monday night at N.C. A&T. The Shore returns to the Hytche Center for Homecoming against Norfolk State on Feb. 24.
6 – Double-doubles for Miryne Thomas this season
18 – Points per game for Tyler Jones in his last two games
24 – Margin of defeat for the Hawks in their last two MEAC losses (7.3 in first eight losses)
About North Carolina Central
Defending league champions N.C. Central have fallen on hard times. Since their narrow win in Princess Anne last month, the Eagles have lost four out of five, including double-digit thrashings at home to Hampton and on Monday at Bethune-Cookman. NCCU sits in sixth place in the MEAC, four games out of first place but just two games back of second with four to play. The Eagles will close the regular season with a double dip against conference leaders Savannah State and rivals N.C. A&T.
Junior center Raasean Davis is continuing his strong debut in the MEAC. The Chicagoan and Kent State transfer is ninth in the league in scoring (15.8 PPG) and fourth in rebounding (7.8 RPG). Davis has punched in eight double-doubles this season, including an season-best 26 points and 11 boards on Monday at Bethune-Cookman.
Reigning BoxToRow.com HBCU Coach of the Year LeVelle Moton has cornered the upperclass transfer market. Thirteen of his 15 Eagles this season are juniors and seniors, 11 of which transferred from another JUCO or four-year institution. Moton has transformed this annual collection of outcasts into the MEAC’s perennial buzzsaw, taking the Eagles to two NCAA Tournaments and one NIT.
Saturday’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-NCCU 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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