Hawks to Face Norfolk State in MEAC Tournament Opener
March 2, 2018

PRINCESS ANNE, Maryland -

After playing the waiting game for three days, Maryland Eastern Shore men's basketball now knows who they will face in the first round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament. The 12th-seeded Hawks will take on No. 5 Norfolk State at 9 p.m. on Monday at the Norfolk Scope.

The Hawks and Spartans will meet on the court for the second time in 10 days when they tip off at the Scope. NSU visited Princess Anne on Feb. 24 and muscled their way to a 67-57 win.

"I think Norfolk State is a very talent basketball team," said Hawks head coach Bobby Collins on the matchup. "They've got a lot of pieces that can hurt you. It's a quick turnaround for them, but it's a quick turnaround time for us too. We've still got them on the brain from the last time."

At the Hytche Center last Saturday, Eastern Shore never led against the Spartans, who opened up an 11-point lead in the first half. The Hawks whittled it down to 33-30 at halftime and got within one point twice, but Norfolk State forged ahead late to put it away.

"They do a great job of attacking and crashing the boards, which is where they hurt us last time," said Collins. "Their point guard Steven Whitley, he's a quiet assassin. He doesn't look like the kind of guy who can score it, but he's capable of both scoring and putting his teammates in a position to score."


 

 

Whitley, a one-time Eastern Shore recruiting target, contributed 14 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists for the Spartans in the win. Tyler Jones led all scorers in the contest, netting 21 points for the Hawks.

Eastern Shore (7-24, 3-13 MEAC) returns to the MEAC Tournament after a run to the semifinals last season, its first appearance in the league's final four since 1994. Last year the Hawks won multiple MEAC Tournament games for the first time since their only title in 1974.

Norfolk State, who lost to rival Hampton on Thursday night to lose out on a share of the MEAC regular season championship, will pursue its first tourney crown since 2012.

The winner of the Hawks-Spartans matchup will face the winner of No. 4 North Carolina A&T State and No. 13 Delaware State on Thursday at 8 p.m.

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