Hawks to Attend Court with Dukes
PRINCESS ANNE, Maryland -
After a brief respite from the road, Maryland Eastern Shore men’s basketball (3-5) opens a stretch of six straight away from home at Duquesne (2-3) on Monday night. Tip from the A.J. Palumbo Center is set for 7 p.m.
Last Time Out
The Hawks fell behind 55-43 with 14:40 to play but clawed all the way back, taking the lead against American University inside the last three minutes for a 74-70 win on Saturday at the Hytche Center. Tyler Jones led the way for The Shore with 18 points, hitting 8-of-12 free throws and several down the stretch to ice it. Miryne Thomas scored 17 points with 10 rebounds for his first collegiate double-double, while Ahmad Frost added 13 points and played a stifling defense on star Eagles guard Sa’eed Nelson.
Bobby Collins on the Matchup
“A win makes the trip to Duquesne a lot easier. We gave a complete effort [against American], and I’m proud of that. There are still some things we need to work on from the American game, but I’d rather teach those lessons after a win than after a loss.”
This is the fourth all-time matchup between the two programs with Duquesne holding a 2-1 advantage. The Dukes won a pair of games in the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons before the series went dormant until Dec. 28, 2014. The Hawks went up 45-38 at the half and held off a late Dukes charge to win 78-69 at Palumbo Center. Mike Myers led eight-man Eastern Shore with 22 points and 14 rebounds, while Devon Walker notched 21, including six threes.
Hawk Quick Shots
The Hawks’ win over AU was their first this season when trailing at halftime. The 12-point comeback was Eastern Shore’s largest since last Feb. 13 when it erased an identical 12-point deficit to beat Bethune-Cookman 82-81 in overtime; the Hawks also beat the Wildcats in January after digging out of a 14-point second half hole.
The Shore has three nonconference wins through eight games this season, matching their total from last season’s 15-game non-league slate. While only one of those wins was against an NCAA Division I opponent (UTEP), two of the Hawks’ three wins this year are against Division I competition (Jackson State, American). Eastern Shore plays just one more game this season against a non-D1 foe when it hosts Central Penn (USCAA Division II) on Dec. 31.
Eastern Shore is about to begin its second six-game road spurt this season. After Monday’s game, the Hawks head south for weekend showdowns at Liberty (Dec. 8) and Virginia Tech (Dec. 10). After that comes a trip out west to Creighton (Dec. 15), followed by a double-dip in the Hawkeye State against Iowa State (Dec. 20) and Drake (Dec. 22) before the Christmas holidays.
.759 – Free throw percentage (22-of-29) for the Hawks against AU, their best of the season
69 – Points for Hawk starters on Saturday, accounting for 93.2 percent of all scoring
The Dukes finished last in the Atlantic 10 in 2016-17 with just three league wins and were picked to place 14th of 14 this season. After winning two straight to start the year Duquesne has dropped three straight, including a 76-64 decision to city rival Pittsburgh on Friday.
Duquesne has yet to play a game outside Pittsburgh city limits. Four of its five games have been at home, and the fifth was Friday’s neutral-site matchup with Pitt at PPG Paints Arena. The Dukes will play five more home games after this one before heading to Sin City for the back half of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic on Dec. 22-23. They open A-10 play at home on Dec. 30 against Dayton and don’t play a true road game until traveling to Fordham on Jan. 6.
Freshman guard Eric Williams, Jr. has played above the rim early for the Dukes. The New Haven, Mich. native is second on the team with 14.4 points per game, and his 9.4 rebounds per contest are second in the Atlantic 10. Williams made a big splash in the season opener against St. Francis Brooklyn, coming off the bench for 17 points and 12 boards on the way to A-10 co-Rookie of the Week honors.
After 13 sterling seasons at his alma mater, Dukes boss Keith Dambrot left Akron for a new challenge at Duquesne. The ‘82 grad coached the Zips to a 305-139 record, winning 21 or more games in 12 straight seasons; only Gonzaga’s Mark Few (18) has a longer mid-major streak. Dambrot guided Akron to four MAC regular season titles in his last six seasons and took the Zips to three NCAA Tournaments and five NITs. He accepted the job with the Dukes, where his father Sid played from 1952-54, last March.
Monday’s game will be broadcast locally on flagship radio station Fox Sports 960 AM WTGM and online at EasternShoreHawks.com. Pregame coverage starts at 6:45 p.m. with Will DeBoer on the call for The Shore Sports Network.
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