Ishaq Pitt (pictured) looks to keep up his strong play on Saturday against Wilmington

Dec. 20, 2013

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PRINCESS ANNE, Md. – After spending their past four contests on the road, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore men’s basketball team has returned home to face off with Wilmington University on Saturday, Dec. 21 at 2 p.m. The Hawks look to keep their record undefeated at home this season, as they have won two contests by a total of 47 points.  The contest is the fifth ever in the history between the two and UMES has won the previous three against their Division II foe by atleast 40 points.

UMES (2-6) comes into the match riding a four-game losing streak. The team began the year 2-2 as victories over Salisbury and Mount St. Mary’s provided them with their best start to begin a year in over 15 years. The backcourt has led the way for the Hawks as freshman Hakeem Baxter (Philadelphia, Pa.) and junior KyRee Jones (Indianapolis, Ind.) have been fantastic. The two are averaging over 33 ppg combined and lead UMES in almost every offensive category. Juniors Issac Smith III (Chicago, Ill.) and Ishaq Pitt (Brooklyn, N.Y.) have provided support to the group as well.

The Hawks have been fantastic from the free-throw line this year and stand amongst the best in the MEAC with a nearly 70-percent average. The team also has advantages over their opponents in steals and offensive rebounds. Jones paces the Hawks with eight swipes, while seniors Francis Ezeiru (Enugu, Nigeria) and Troy Snyder (Chicago, Ill.) are getting it done on the offensive glass.



Wilmington is being led by the dual tandem of Herbert Dennis and Ta’Vaune Griffin. Dennis leads the team with 15.8 ppg and recently scored his 1,000th point as a Wildcat against Post University. Griffin has been a force in the paint with a 7.7 rbp average to compliment 38 total blocks. He was recently named Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Defensive Player of the Week. The Wildcats have already dropped three games on the road in 2013 and have only three seniors altogether.

Let’s take a look at a few game notes for the matchup:

LAST TIME OUT: UMES fell on the road at Purdue, 79-50, on Monday in front of a national audience on ESPN3. KyRee Jones led the Hawks with a game-high 23 points behind a 5-of-11 effort from three-point range, while Shane Randall had a career-high seven points. UMES shot just 34-percent from the line in the game, despite a 55-percent clip from long range in the first

UMES AGAINST NON DIVISION I OPPONENTS: The Hawks have won their past 17 matches against non-Division I opponents since 1992. The Hawks have won their past six matches against the group by atleast 15 points, including a 49 point triumph over Wilmington in 1996

CAGING THE WILDCATS: UMES is 4-0 all-time against Wilmington. The Hawks won the last meeting against Wilmington, 106-60, in 1996. The 46-point win was the second largest for the Hawks over the past 17 years. UMES has won by 40 or more points in each of the past three meetings against the Wildcats

FREE THROWS WIN BALLGAMES!: UMES stands amongst the top in the MEAC in free-throw percentage. The team is one of five schools in the MEAC shooting over 70-percent from the charity stripe and has four players shooting over 75-percent. UMES has gone to the free-throw line atleast 17 times in every game in 2013, including a season-high 37 times against Salisbury

BAXTER BACKING IT UP: Freshman Hakeem Baxter is on fire to begin his collegiate career. He has been named MEAC Rookie of the Week twice (Nov. 25, Dec. 9) and is top-3 in eight statistical categories. Entering the game against Purdue, Baxter was the 20th ranked freshman in scoring in the NCAA. He has scored atleast 15 points in five of his past six games

For complete recaps, results and news of Hawk athletics, please visit www.umeshawks.com

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