Hawks Drop In on Bluejays in Omaha
PRINCESS ANNE, Maryland -
Maryland Eastern Shore men’s basketball (3-8) makes its first-ever visit to Omaha, Nebraska on Friday night to face Creighton (7-2). Tip from CenturyLink Center Omaha is set for 8 p.m. EST (7 p.m. CST).
Last Time Out
The Hawks kept up for eight minutes but fell victim to a Virginia Tech blitz, and the Hokies ran away with a 93-40 win on Sunday afternoon in Blacksburg. Cameron Bacote led the way for The Shore with 12 points.
Bobby Collins on the Matchup
“[Creighton’s Marcus Foster and Khyri Thompson], those two kids are bulldogs. They can do it on the offensive end but also on the defensive end. Those are my kind of players. We’re looking forward to going up there and competing and playing them.”
This is the first-ever meeting between the Hawks and the Bluejays. Eastern Shore visited Big East peer Georgetown this season on Nov. 18, falling 83-57.
Hawk Quick Shots
The Hawks have struggled to score on the young season. Eastern Shore ranks last in scoring margin (-23.9) and three-point field goal percentage (.265), as well as second-to-last in the MEAC in points per game (57.9) and field goal percentage (.367). The Shore has eclipsed the 70-point mark just twice this season in wins over Valley Forge in American. Opponents have held the Hawks under 50 points five times, including in back-to-back games at Liberty and Virginia Tech last weekend.
Cameron Bacote scored 12 points on Sunday at Virginia Tech, leading the Hawks in scoring. It was Bacote’s first double-digit scoring effort since the first two games of the season when he poured in 28 against Valley Forge and 18 at Maryland. Bacote averaged 4.1 points over his eight games between Maryland and Virginia Tech. His season average stands at 8.3 points per game, good for fifth on the team.
Colen Gaynor missed last Sunday’s game with an undisclosed injury. He is day-to-day, and Bacote is expected to start in his place against Creighton, as he did against Virginia Tech.
The Hawks return to the Heartland next week for a pair of games in the Hawkeye State. Eastern Shore visits Iowa State on Wednesday night and Drake next Friday before going home for the holidays.
8 – Hawk players who saw action in Virginia Tech on Sunday (six on scholarship)
38 – Average margin of defeat for the Hawks in seven true road games this season
6 – States, plus the District of Columbia, that the Hawks have visited this nonconference season
The Bluejays (one word) opened the season with four straight wins, including a road triumph at then-No. 20 Northwestern on Nov. 15. Creighton has faced four top-25 teams this season, going 2-2 with wins over Northwestern and UCLA and losses against Baylor and Gonzaga. CU is the de facto No. 26 team in the country this week, receiving 79 votes in the AP Poll.
Creighton joined the Big East in 2013, by far the westernmost program to join the storied conference. The Bluejays went to the Big East championship game in 2016-17, losing to defending national champion Villanova before earning an at-large NCAA Tournament berth. Creighton earned a reputation as a bracket buster, making three straight Rounds of 32 from 2012-14, but has not made a Sweet 16 since 1974.
Senior guard Marcus Foster leads the Bluejay way. The Wichita Falls, Texas native is seventh in the Big East with 19 points per game. Foster was a unanimous First Team All-Big East last season, ranking third in the league with 18.2 points per contest. He has eclipsed the 20-point mark in five of nine games this year, including 23 in back-to-back games against Yale and Alcorn State to open the year.
Eastern Shore head coach Bobby Collins and assistant Ed Huckaby were assistants under Creighton capo Steve Merfeld at Hampton in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Merfeld’s Pirates won back-to-back MEAC double championships in 2001 and 2002. They also pulled off a 15-over-2 upset of Iowa State in the 2001 NCAA Tournament, just the fourth of now eight such upsets in tournament history. Merfeld left Hampton to take over at Evansville in 2002. Top assistant Collins inherited the top Pirates job, the first head coaching job of his career.
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 7:45 p.m. EST with Will DeBoer on the call for The Shore Sports Network.
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