The Shore looking for repeat of performance against Hornets in MEAC Tourney
March 6, 2018

NORFOLK, Virginia -

When the pairings were released for the opening round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament, University of Maryland Eastern Shore coach Fred Batchelor wasnt taking anything for granted.

Despite coming off a 76-56 home win against Delaware State (6-23, 5-11 MEAC) the veteran coach was looking at the bigger picture. He knew The Shore was about to play the same team — March 6 at 1:30 p.m. — on a neutral court. And he knew that the Hawks (10-19, 7-9 MEAC) has struggled with making shots at different time this season.

He also didnt want his team to look past a squad that featured All-MEAC first-team selection NaJai Pollard, who was also last years conference player of the year.

Pollard is averaging 18.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.8 blocks and isnt the Hornets only weapon. MEAC All-Rookie team selection Ryan Jones averages 9.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.6 steals.

Junior forward Arion Jackson missed the last matchup with an injury, but returned to the court in the season finale against Morgan State to score 10 points.

The Hornets are also a bit unpredictable and in a transition following the firing of head coach Barbara Burgess three games ago. Interim coach Kyle Adams will be coaching just his fourth game and is 1-2 so far.



In the Feb. 26 matchup, the Hawks shot 41 percent (12-of-29) from behind the 3-point arc, which went a long way toward building a 20-point decision. The 12 3s were a season-high, while the team also shot 42 percent from the field.

We arent going to be able to count on shooting that well, Batchelor said. The Scope is a different environment. We will need to find other ways to success on offense.

The Hawks are led by freshman forward Bairesha Gill-Miles (Lexington, Kentucky) who last week was named MEAC Rookie of the Year. Gill-Miles leads the team in scoring (10.6 ppg) and rebounding (7.9 rpg).

Junior point guard Ciani Byrom (Winston-Salem, North Carolina) is second on the team with 10.5 points, 2.7 rebounds and 3.9 assists, while classmate Keyera Eaton (Winston-Salem, North Carolina) is averaging 8.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.6 steals.

Graduate transfer Jordyn Smith (Durham, North Carolina) and senior Alexus Hicks (Raleigh, North Carolina) round out the starting lineup. Smith averages 8.8 points and 6.0 rebounds, while Hicks averages 6.4 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists.

The offense has been trending up late in the season.

Over the last five games, the duo of Byrom and Eaton have combined for 27.8 points, 7.0 assists, 6.4 rebounds and 3.0 steals.

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