Hawks Locked In for Home Tilt with Eagles
PRINCESS ANNE, Maryland -
Further establishing the matchup as a rivalry of sorts, Maryland Eastern Shore men’s basketball (2-5) will face American University (2-4) for the third straight year on Saturday afternoon. Tip time from the Hytche Athletic Center is set for 4 p.m.
Last Time Out
Maryland Eastern Shore shot just 20 percent in the first half and couldn’t keep up with Old Dominion in an 83-44 loss at the Ted Constant Convention Center on Monday night. It was the third time this season the Hawks have failed to crack 50 points. Miryne Thomas led the way for The Shore with 15 points and eight rebounds.
Bobby Collins on the Matchup
“American is playing well. They shoot the ball extremely well. Last year our team was totally different from this year, so it’s a team that doesn’t know the history between the two of us. We’ve got to go in and try and take care of our home court. Hopefully we can bring our fans some exciting basketball. We’ll take a couple days to get our legs back under us, and we’ll be ready on Saturday.”
American leads the all-time series 4-3. The teams have split their matchups over the past two seasons with the home side prevailing each time. The Hawks visited Bender Arena last season on Dec. 19. Eastern Shore took a 55-53 lead with 3:23 to play but turning it over four times over that final stretch, allowing the Eagles to survive 61-58. Ryan Andino and Dontae Caldwell each had 13 points to lead The Shore, while then-freshman Sa’eed Nelson paced AU with 16 points and five boards. The season before on Dec. 20, 2015, Eastern Shore welcomed American to Princess Anne and soundly beat the Eagles 79-64 behind Devin Martin’s 34 points.
Hawk Quick Shots
The Hawks will host their second of just three nonconference home games this season and their last one with university classes in session this semester. Eastern Shore was last at home for its season opener on Nov. 10, defeating Valley Forge 95-69. When the Hawks returned from Norfolk on Monday night, they had spent all or part of 10 out of 11 days on the road, playing five games over that stretch (Georgetown, St. Bonaventure, Jackson State, Tennessee Tech, Old Dominion).
An offseason of health turmoil spilled over into the first few games of the season, but the Hawks are as healthy as they will be this year and have established their primary personnel. Eastern Shore has set the same starting five for three straight matchups: guards Logan McIntosh, Ahmad Frost, and Colen Gaynor; and forwards Tyler Jones and Miryne Thomas. Freshman guard Cameron Bacote is often The Shore’s sixth man, while fellow rookies LeAndre Thomas and Sean Hoggs fill in significant minutes off the bench.
Eastern Shore wastes no time packing its bags for another road-heavy stretch after Saturday’s game. The Hawks visit Pittsburgh to take on Duquesne on Monday night, while the end of the week features matchups at Liberty (Dec. 8) and Virginia Tech (Dec. 10). The Shore is back at The Hytche on Dec. 31 to take on Central Penn.
12.0 – Team-best points per game for Miryne Thomas (would be top-15 in MEAC if qualified)
7.3 – Three-pointers per game for the Hawks, good for fourth in the MEAC
6 – Consecutive road games for The Shore after Saturday
American University is a young squad that features 10 underclassmen and no seniors. They last suited up on Wednesday, falling 100-89 at St. Francis (Pennsylvania).
The Eagles began their season in August with three exhibition games as part of a tour of Australia. AU then spent five of its six road games away from D.C., beating VMI 69-64 in its only home game on Nov. 25. Road stops for the Eagles include Kansas State and West Virginia, and they will visit Marquette on Dec. 18.
Sophomore guard Sa’eed Nelson is picking up where he left off in his rookie campaign. Through six games the New Jersey native leads the team in points (19.3), rebounds (4.7), assists (4.3), and steals (1.5) per contest. Last season Nelson made the Patriot League All-Rookie Team, averaging nearly 15 points each night and finishing third in the NCAA in minutes per game (37.8).
Fifth-year head coach Mike Brennan knows what it takes to win at the top academic universities in the country. Brennan played for legendary Princeton coach Pete Carril in the 1990s, then after serving one season at Columbia he returned to Princeton as an assistant for seven years. Brennan was an assistant coach at American for two years before becoming John Thompson’s top lieutenant at Georgetown for four seasons. He was named AU’s 17th head coach before the 2013-14 season, succeeding all-time winningest leader and current Old Dominion boss Jeff Jones.
Saturday’s game will be broadcast locally on flagship radio station Fox Sports 960 AM WTGM and online at EasternShoreHawks.com. Pregame coverage starts at 3:45 p.m. with Will DeBoer and Dave Byrd on the call for The Shore Sports Network.
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