Hawks Open Regular Season Against Valley Forge
PRINCESS ANNE, Maryland -
After a dress rehearsal last week, Maryland Eastern Shore men’s basketball opens the curtain on the 2017-18 regular season on Friday night against the University of Valley Forge. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. at the William P. Hytche Athletic Center.
Last Time Out
The Hawks overcame a big second half deficit to down Christopher Newport 61-58 in an exhibition game last Thursday night. Playing in his first game since January 2016, Ahmad Frost led the home side with 12 points, including four free throws in the final minute to seal the deal. Cameron Bacote, Tyler Jones, and Logan McIntosh each scored 10 points, while LeAndre Thomas added eight points and eight rebounds.
Eastern Shore beat Valley Forge 90-65 in the first-ever meeting between the schools on Jan. 2 of this year. Ryan Andino led the way with 23 points, shooting 6-of-15 from beyond the arc. Bakari Copeland poured in 22 points, while Tyler Jones chipped in 19 off the bench.
Hawk Quick Shots
The Shore has posted double-digit wins in each of the last three seasons, the first time it has sustained that success since doing it four years in a row from 1998-99 through 2001-02. Eastern Shore’s 42 wins over the last three seasons are the most since winning 45 in a row from 1992-93 through 1994-95.
Senior guard Logan McIntosh is the only starter from last year’s team who will be active for the opener. Last season the Atlanta native averaged 8.6 points per game, good for third on the team, and dished out 4.4 assists per contest, the fifth-best total in the MEAC. Three other returning starters are out for extended periods, including second-team Preseason All-MEAC guard Ryan Andino. Redshirt sophomore guard Ahmad Frost is expected to play a big role in his comeback season, while freshman LeAndre Thomas will carry big minutes in the post.
After Friday night’s game, Eastern Shore hits the road for its next six, starting on Sunday evening in College Park against the Maryland Terrapins. The week after will feature visits to St. Bonaventure (Nov. 15) and Georgetown (Nov. 18).
7 – New players on roster for The Shore, including five true freshmen
76.8 – Points per game in MEAC play for the Hawks last year, good for second in the league
3 – Nonconference home games for the Hawks in the regular season (Nov. 10 vs. Valley Forge, Dec. 2 vs. American, Dec. 31 vs. Central Penn)
About Valley Forge
After their first nonwinning season in a decade, the Patriots rebounded in 2016-17, finishing the year with a 19-10 record and No. 4 ranking in NCCAA Division II. Valley Forge has finished top-two in the East Region 11 years running and has earned three national runner-up finishes (last 2011-12).
Senior guard Alex Sanchez, who led the team in scoring last season, will be even more important for a UVF squad that lost its six leading scorers below him. The Orlando native scored 18.2 PPG last season and leads all returners in assists (1.7) and steals (1.5). Sanchez scored 18 points but shot just 6-of-16 from the floor in the Patriots’ 86-85 overtime loss to Kentucky Christian in the NCCAA D-II semifinals. He earned national all-tournament honors in addition to his second-team NCCAA All-American nod.
The D.J. Damazo era begins tonight for Valley Forge. The first-year head coach replaces Patriots legend Jon Mack, who retired after 16 seasons and over 200 wins at his alma mater. Damazo graduated from Geneva College in 2013, starting on the basketball team for two seasons. He then became an assistant coach at Blackhawk High School, his alma mater, in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, before signing on as assistant varsity and head JV coach at Eastern University in Philadelphia. Damazo earned a Master’s in organizational leadership from EU before earning his first head coaching job at UVF.
Friday’s game will be broadcast locally on Fox Sports Radio 960 AM WTGM and online at easternshorehawks.com with pregame coverage starting at 7:45 p.m. Will DeBoer returns for his second season as the Voice of the Hawks; he will be joined behind the mic by David Byrd for the call on The Shore Sports Network from SFMSports.net.
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