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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, March 11, 6:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Norfolk Scope Arena (10,253) -- Norfolk, Virginia. Television: None. Home Record: UMES 2-6, Savannah State 11-3. Away Record: UMES 0-15, Savannah State 7-10. Neutral Record: UMES 0-4, Savannah State 0-0. Conference Record: UMES 2-14, Savannah State 11-5. Series Record: Savannah State, 1-0.
GAMES NOTES: After meeting up in the regular season finale the 13th-seeded Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks will take on the fourth-seeded Savannah State Tigers in the opening round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament at Norfolk Scope Arena.
On March 7, these two teams clashed in Savannah in the lone meeting of the season between them. It was also the first ever matchup between the two squads which Savannah State won easily with a 71-54 victory on its home floor.
For the Hawks, the big loss was nothing new as they are just 2-25 this season with a scoring margin of -14.7. The Hawks' only two wins did come in conference play. The setback against the Tigers was the fifth straight for the Hawks who have three streaks of at least five losses with a 13-game skein to start the year. Though UMES has one MEAC crown it came way back during the 1974 season.
Savannah State had much more success during the regular season as it sports an 18-13 overall record along with an 11-5 mark against fellow teams from the MEAC. The win against the Hawks in the season finale ended a three-game slide for the Tigers who are one of just three teams in the MEAC to never secure a conference title.
Troy Snyder posted a double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds) but the Hawks shot at just a 38.2 percent clip for the game in the loss to Savannah State to wrap up the regular season. The Hawks also had 17 turnovers and made just a single shot from beyond the arc.
The Hawks have been one of the worst teams in the conference and arguably the country on both ends of the floor this season. They rank among the five worst teams in the nation in points scored (55.2 pg) and field-goal percentage (.357). UMES also ranks near the bottom of the conference in assists (9.4 pg) while allowing teams to shoot 47.4 percent from the field and score just under 70 points per game. Kevin Mays (13.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg) and Snyder (12.0 ppg, 6.8 rpg) are each double-figure scorers but Snyder shot just 36.2 percent from the field while May netted just 41.9 percent.
Deven Williams scored a game-high 21 points and Preston Blackman nearly had a double-double (9 points, 11 assists) as Savannah State eased by UMES. The Tigers shot a strong 51.8 percent from the field and outscored the Hawks in the paint (42-30) and in points off turnovers (23-10).
It has been their effort on the defensive end that have kept Savannah State alive this season. The Tigers are limiting teams to just 55.3 points per game on 38.9 percent shooting withe each of those marks among the top 30 in the country. Their showing on defense has made up for the Tigers lack of offensive punch as they score just 56.5 points per game on 41.7 percent shooting. In fact the Tigers are scoring better than only UMES and Howard among MEAC teams. Rashad Hassan (12.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and Blackman (12.0 ppg, 3.5 apg) are the two leading scorers on the roster and two of just three players putting in more than 6.5 points per game.
Though Savannah State isn't a particularly strong offensive team it hasn't mattered with how well the Tigers play on defense. Against UMES it won't matter either.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Savannah State 65, Maryland-Eastern Shore 50
03/11 10:32:34 ET
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