Western Michigan (2-1) vs. MD-Eastern Shore (0-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 17, 5 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Sun Dome (10,411) -- Tampa, Florida. Television: None.
Home Record: WMU 1-0, MD-Eastern Shore 0-0. Away Record: WMU 0-1, MD-Eastern
Shore 0-2. Neutral Record: WMU 1-0, MD-Eastern Shore 0-2. Conference Record:
WMU 0-0, MD-Eastern Shore 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: As part of the South Florida Invitational at the USF Sun Dome, the
Western Michigan Broncos will square off with the Maryland-Eastern Shore
In the first game of the three-day tournament the Broncos topped Loyola-
Chicago 81-71, to move to 2-1 on the young season. Western Michigan has won
back-to-back games after an 85-40 defeat of NAIA foe Marygrove at home last
Tuesday, which followed up a 63-55 road loss to Cornell in the season opener.
Western Michigan will face host South Florida on the final day of the event.
MD-Eastern Shore's season has yet to earn the Hawks a win after a 78-59 loss
to host South Florida on Friday night. The loss just added to the Hawks' woes
which have included a 76-64 setback to Hawaii, a 70-55 loss to Houston Baptist
and a 62-52 loss to Arkansas-Pine Bluff. In the final game of the three-day
event the Hawks will battle Loyola-Chicago.
This matchup marks the first between these two squads.
Western Michigan had its hands full, especially in the first half against
Loyola-Chicago and led by just a point (38-37) at halftime after connecting on
13-of-24 shots from the floor. In the second half the Broncos were able to
pull away on the back of 59.1 percent shooting in the final 20 minutes. Nate
Hutcheson was sensational in the contest with 30 points, while falling a
rebound shy of a double-double.
Hutcheson has gotten off to a fast start for the Broncos this season. His 17.7
points per game average is by far the best on the squad while he is also
consistently bringing down rebounds (5.7 pg). Hutcheson has been particularly
deadly from beyond the arc (8-of-17). Three other players are scoring in
double figures for the Broncos this season led by Darius Paul (11.0 ppg) who
has played well in major minutes as a freshman. Center Shayne Whittington
(10.7 ppg, 9.7 rpg) has been a consistent threat to post a double-double this
season for the Broncos who have had a strong inside presence early on. Brandon
Pokley (10.0 ppg) is another solid shooter from beyond the arc (7-of-16) while
Austin Richie (6.7 ppg, 3.3 apg) has run the point well.
Poor first-half shooting did MD-Eastern Shore in against South Florida. The
Hawks managed just six field goals in the first 20 minutes on 23 attempts
(26.1 FG percentage). Ronald Spencer (14 points, 7 rebounds) and Troy Snyder
(12 points, 7 rebounds) were the only two players on the team that seemed to
have any success on offense with the pair combining to hit 10-of-17 shots. The
rest of the squad connected on 8-of-38 from the floor.
Offensive struggles have plagued MD-Eastern Shore this season. The Hawks are
scoring just 57.0 points per game while shooting at a 33.0 percent clip
through the first four games. Although it is early, both of those numbers are
near the bottom of the nation. The Hawks rely heavily on the trio of Spencer,
Snyder and Kyree Jones. All three are playing more than 28 minutes per game
with no other play on the roster at more than 22 minutes per contest. Jones
(14.5 ppg) is the top scorer and also runs the offense, tying for a team-high
with 12 assists (3.0 pg). Jones has the ability to shoot from beyond the
arc but has hit only 7-of-30 shots from distance. Spencer (8.8 ppg, 7.8 rpg)
and Snyder (9.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg) have powered the frontline. Off the bench
Dominique Cowell has played the most minutes but has been much more productive
in distribution (3.0 apg) than in scoring (4.5 ppg).
The battle on the frontline could prove to be intriguing. However although
Spencer and Snyder have been productive, the Broncos have more skill up and
down the roster.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Western Michigan 69, MD-Eastern Shore 57
11/17 10:37:01 ET
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