WASHINGTON, D.C. – The University of Maryland Eastern Shore men's basketball team looks to pick up its first Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference victory of the season on Saturday night as the Hawks travel to Howard for a 4 p.m. contest. A victory in the contest would give UMES its first win away from the William P. Hytche Athletic Center as well.
UMES (2-13, 0-3 MEAC) has dropped its last two contests against Howard (3-15, 1-2 MEAC). The Hawks are 5-5 against the Bison over the past seven seasons, but have fallen in each of their past three trips to Burr Gymnasium. The matchup features two of the weaker scoring teams in the MEAC, but UMES holds a +2.8 ppg edge over its counterpart. The Hawks and Bison compare in field-goal percentage (37%) and rebounds-per-game (33).
The Hawks have been fantastic in the second-half recently. In their past five games, the Hawks hold a +6 scoring advantage in the final frame and have scored at least 40 points in three of the four matches. UMES will look to freshman Devon Walker (Philadelphia, Pa.), who found a hot hand from three-point range against Norfolk State (4-for-5, 12 points), to lead the way. Junior KyRee Jones (Indianapolis, Ind.) and freshman Hakeem Baxter (Philadelphia, Pa.) will also look to continue their strong play on Saturday. After starting the season 2-0, Howard has gone 1-15 in its last 16 games. The team has only one win over a Division I school this season and rank last in the MEAC in ppg. The team is also among the worst in assist/turnover ratio with a 0.6 average. James Daniel leads the Bison with 19.5 ppg, courtesy of a 43% clip from long-range. Prince Okoroh is ninth in the MEAC in ppg (15.9) and Marcel Boyd has 17 blocks.
Let's take a look at a few game notes for Saturday's matchup:
• LAST TIME OUT: UMES lost a hard fought battle against Norfolk State, 66-62, last Wednesday night on Take a Kid to a Game day at the W.P. Hytche Center. Down by 13 with 13 minutes to go, UMES went on a 14-5 run over a five-minute span to cut the deficit to four. The push was as close as UMES would get the rest of the way as NSU made its free-throws down the stretch. Devon Walker had a team-high 12 points and UMES shot 47% FG in 2nd half
• MATCHUP AGAINST HOWARD: The Hawks have lost their last two against the Bison, but have an even 5-5 record against HU over the past six years. UMES has not won at Burr Gymnasium since 2010, when the men defeated the Bison, 68-66, in OT. UMES lost by a combined 23 points to HU in 2013
• HAWKS WITH LONG-RANGE TOUCH: KyRee Jones is second in the MEAC with 32 threes made, while Devon Walker is shooting 33% from 3FG. Walker was 4-of-5 from 3FG against NSU and was 3-for-4 against Mississippi State on Jan. 2. The pair has been the bright spots for UMES from long range, where the men rank 13th in the MEAC in the category
• REJUVINATED HAWKS IN SECOND-HALF: UMES has outscored three of its last five opponents in the second-half. The Hawks hold a +6 scoring advantage in the final frame during that span and have scored atleast 40 points in three of those games
• JONES IN DOUBLE-DIGITS: KyRee Jones has posted 11 games in double digits this season. He has 15 points in six of the past eight games and is averaging 16.4 ppg across his last eight games. His double-digit game point streak ended last week vs. Norfolk State at seven
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