Hawks Shift Focus to Howard
PRINCESS ANNE, Md. – The University of Maryland Eastern Shore men’s basketball team (6-20, 2-9 MEAC) will face Howard (7-19, 4-6 MEAC) again Monday night at 7:30 from Burr Gymnasium in Washington.
Hawks Coach Bobby Collins spoke on Howard prior to the matchup.
“Howard is really playing well. They have two prolific scorers, so our work is cut out for us again,” Collins said. “We definitely have to do a better job of containing them with perimeter defense.”
The Bison came out on top when the teams faced each other two weeks ago, defeating the Hawks 85-75 at Hytche Center. Miryne Thomas finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds and Logan McIntosh had 17 points to go along with eight assists.
This will be the 103 time the Hawks and Bison meet, with Howard leading the all time series 60-42 and winning the last four match-ups going back to the 2015-16 season. Eastern Shore’s last victory against Howard came on Feb. 1, 2016 in Princess Anne and the Hawks haven’t won in Washington since 2010.
The Hawks last game came against Bethune-Cookman, where they failed to keep pace after trimming a 12-point halftime deficit to two, losing 87-67 on Saturday afternoon. Thomas dropped a career-high 21 points to go along with eight rebounds, while Tyler Jones scored 21 points as well on 9-of-12 shooting from the floor.
The Hawks 20-point loss was the worst since losing by 28 to the MEAC-leading Savannah State on Jan. 13. The Hawks are 2-7 in conference games that are decided by 10 points or less.
Thomas has three double-doubles in his last four games, averaging 17 points and 10 rebounds in that time. The freshman’s five double-doubles on the season match the team-best total from last year by First-Team All-MEAC forward Bakari Copeland. Thomas leads MEAC freshmen in rebounding with 9.2 in conference play and is top 10 in league field goal percentage with .535.
Jones, a sophomore forward, has started all 26 games for the Hawks this season. Jones and McIntosh co-lead the team in scoring during conference play with 14.5 points each.
Eastern Shore is in the middle of a road trip against teams faced at home earlier this season. The Hawks will face North Carolina Central next Saturday and North Carolina A&T State next Monday. The next home game will be against Norfolk State, homecoming on Feb. 24.
Howard is 4-2 in the last six conference games after starting 0-4. The Bison are 1-2 since their victory against the Hawks, taking down Florida A&M at home and falling at Morgan State and home against Hampton. Howard is a half game back of a tie for seventh in the MEAC and two games back from fifth.
Freshman guard R.J. Cole seems to be the obvious choice for MEAC rookie of the year, currently sixth in the nation in scoring with 24 points per game, to go with a conference leading 5.9 assists per game. Cole is a 10 time MEAC rookie of the week with an astounding 27.7 points per game in conference play. Cole became the first MEAC player to win CBS Sports’ freshman of the week, averaging 26 points, 4.0 rebounds, 6.5-assists and 2.5-steals from Jan. 20-22.
Monday’s game can be heard locally on Fox Sports 960 AM WTGM and is available online at EasternShoreHawks.com. Tip off will be at 7:30 p.m. or 30 minutes after the Eastern Shore-HU women’s basketball game, which is at 5:30. Will DeBoer will be calling the game for The Shore Sports Network, with pregame coverage starting at around 7:15.