Hawks Welcome in Norfolk State for Homecoming
PRINCESS ANNE, Maryland -
Maryland Eastern Shore men’s basketball (6-23, 2-12 MEAC) gets ready for the final weekend of the regular season with a Homecoming matchup against Norfolk State (11-17, 9-4 MEAC) on Saturday afternoon. Tip from the W.P. Hytche Athletic Center is set for approximately 4 p.m.
Last Time Out
Eastern Shore stayed eight-to-12 points down for most of the second half, never wavering but never quite getting back into it in a 78-69 loss at North Carolina A&T on Monday. Tyler Jones led the way with a game-high 21 points, while Logan McIntosh stuffed the stat sheet with 19 points, eight rebounds, and six assists.
Bobby Collins on the Matchup
“We are prepared. We know exactly what Norfolk State is capable of. They have some very good shooters. Kyle Williams and Derrik Robinson are prolific shooters and scorers. Steven Whitley has just played phenomenal for them; he runs their team well. We know what they do, we know how to defend them. We have to contain those shooters, limit them to one shot, get back in transition defense, and score on our end. We have to make them chase us.”
This will be the 63rd matchup between the Hawks and the Spartans. Norfolk State leads the all-time series 43-19 and has won the last two showdowns.
Last season the teams met in Norfolk’s Echols Hall on Feb. 11. Eastern Shore took a nine-point lead into halftime, but Norfolk State came out swinging in the second half and eventually sealed the deal with a 75-69 win. Bakari Copeland scored 22 points for the Hawks, while Tyler Jones chipped in 14 off the bench.
Hawk Quick Shots
Eastern Shore comes in on a four-game losing streak, dropping the four games by an average margin of 22.3 points. The Hawks sit just one game up on last-place Delaware state in the MEAC standings and are locked into playing in either the 5-12 or 4-13 matchups in the first round of the MEAC Tournament; both pairings are set in the Monday night block at Scope Arena.
Sophomore forward Tyler Jones is the only Hawk to start all 29 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 14.3 points in conference games this season. He has four games of 20 or more points this season, doubling his total from his freshman campaign.
Monday night’s contest was the Hawks’ final road game of the season. Eastern Shore went 0-18 in true road games this season and stands at 1-19 in games away from the Hytche Center. The Shore wraps up its regular season with Senior Night on Monday against Delaware State; tip time from The Hytche is 7:30. Eastern Shore is idle during the MEAC’s final block of games on Mar. 1.
4 – 20-point games for Tyler Jones this season (two as freshman)
5-4 – Home record for the Hawks this season (1-19 in road/neutral)
2014 – Last time the Hawks won on Homecoming
About Norfolk State
The Spartans are coming off two straight seasons of going 17-17 overall and 12-4 in the MEAC. Last year NSU advanced to the MEAC Championship Game before falling to North Carolina Central. They then lost in the first round of the CIT at Liberty by single digits.
Norfolk State went 2-13 in nonconference play, including a loss to Division II Elizabeth City State on Jan. 15. The Spartans got some key pieces back at the right time, though, and now find themselves in a logjam atop the MEAC. NSU is one game back of the three-way tie for first place (Savannah State, N.C. A&T, Bethune-Cookman) and half a game back of Hampton for fourth; the Spartans could finish as low as sixth but have a real shot at winning the league crown.
Redshirt-sophomore guard Steven Whitley has emerged as an underclass leader on an upperclass-laden squad. The Robert Morris transfer and one-time Eastern Shore target leads the team in points (11.7) and assists (4.4) per game. Whitley came up huge for NSU in their season-shifting win over Savannah State on Feb. 17, scoring 15 points and dishing out 10 assists.
Fifth-year Spartan boss Robert Jones has turned NSU into a model of consistency. In his first four complete seasons, Norfolk State has won at least 17 games and 11 league games, advancing to four straight MEAC tournament semifinals and four straight CIT tournaments. Jones arrived in Norfolk in 2007 as an assistant coach, serving on staff in 2011-12 when the No. 15 Spartans upset No. 2 Missouri in the Big Dance; he earned associate head duties in 2012-13 and ascended to head coach in 2014.
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-NSU 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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