Hawks Look to Find Spark at Flames
PRINCESS ANNE, Maryland -
Maryland Eastern Shore men’s basketball returns to the road for a pair of weekend games in the Commonwealth of Virginia, starting on Friday night at Liberty University. Tip from the Vines Center is set for 7 p.m.
Last Time Out
The Hawks fell victim to a sharp-shooting Duquesne team, falling behind 42-23 at half before regrouping for the final 20 minutes in an 86-61 loss on Monday night at the Palumbo Center. Logan McIntosh led the way with an all-around effort for the hawks, scoring 14 points with three rebounds and a season-high seven assists in a team-best 36 minutes of action. Ahmad Frost added 12 points, while Miryne Thomas contributed 10 points and six boards.
Bobby Collins on the Matchup
“Liberty is a very smart team. They’re very physical, so we’ll need Tyler Jones and Miryne Thomas to give us some stability in the post. We’ve got to go out and just do what we do to limit their opportunities. We also have to play smart on our end, not take too many bad shots or quick shots, which turns into easy shots for them. We don’t want to give them too many of those opportunities.”
This is the third all-time meeting between the Hawks and the Flames, and the first since a unique in-season home-and-home during the 1991-92 season. Liberty swept the series, winning 95-60 in Lynchburg on Nov. 30 and 90-64 in Princess Anne on Dec. 14.
Hawk Quick Shots
The Hawks shot just 28.6 percent (8-for-28) percent in the first half at Duquesne, but rebounded to shoot 48 percent (12-for-25) over the final 20 minutes. Eastern Shore’s defense limited the Dukes to a 41.7 percent mark in the second half after Duquesne shot 55.6 percent in the first. The Dukes only outscored Eastern Shore 44-38 in the second half.
While going 3-1 in home or neutral-site games, The Shore is 0-5 in true road games this season, falling at major and high mid-major programs Maryland, Georgetown, St. Bonaventure, Old Dominion, and Duquesne. The Hawks have lost those five games by an average margin of 38.2 points. Its 25-point loss at Duquesne was the team’s closest of the five.
Eastern Shore will be two-thirds of the way through its nonconference schedule after Friday night’s game. The Hawks stay in the Cavalier State to face Virginia Tech on Sunday, followed by road games at Creighton (Dec. 15), Iowa State (Dec. 20), and Drake (Dec. 22) before returning home to face Central Penn on Dec. 31.
.833 – Free throw percentage (10-for-12) for Logan McIntosh in Monday’s game at Duquesne
13.5 – Points per game for Miryne Thomas in his last two games
12.5 – Turnovers per game for the Hawks, the fewest in the MEAC
The Flames finished third in the Big South Conference last season, going 14-4 and 21-14 overall on the way to a CIT quarterfinals berth. LU was picked to finish third again in the Big South preseason poll behind UNC Asheville and Winthrop.
After five straight losing seasons (despite an NCAA Tournament berth in 2013), Liberty has returned to top contention in the Big South. The Flames finished 10-8 in conference play in 2015-16 before winning 14 league games last season. This season, LU has won four of its last five games with the only loss coming in triple overtime to UNC Greensboro on Dec. 2. The Flames rebounded with an overtime win at Georgia State on Monday.
Sophomore forward Scottie James has pounded the glass on both ends for the Flames. The Tarpon Springs, Florida native is second on the team in points per game (13.0) and ranks second in the Big South in rebounds per contest (9.2). James, whose brother Micah also plays for Liberty, posted three straight double-doubles on Nov. 25 through Dec. 2, the first Flame to do so in five years.
Ritchie McKay is in his second stint as head coach at Liberty. He first spent two seasons in Lynchburg from 2007-09, posting a 23-12 record before leaving to take an assistant job under Tony Bennett under Tony Bennett. The Cavaliers went 136-64 under McKay’s tutelage, including a pair of 30-win campaigns. McKay returned to LU in 2015- 16, turning a projected 11th-place Flames team to a fifth-place finish in the Big South. He has also been a head coach at Portland State, Colorado State, Oregon State, and New Mexico in a career that started in 1996-97.
Friday’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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