Tuesday night provided a big opportunity for two teams who haven’t lived up to expectations to start the 2015-16 season. The Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks, who were coming off an 18-win season a year ago, were just 1-4 on the season. While they were coming off their first win of the season, a 70-57 decision over Saint Francis (PA), there’s still plenty of room for improvement.
The Hawks had a marquee opportunity to pull off an upset win on Tuesday, as they kicked off a seven-game road trip with a game against the Georgetown Hoyas. The Hoyas were just 2-3 on the season, but were coming off a 30-point win over Bryant their last time out.
Georgetown entered Tuesday as 25-point favourites over the Hawks, so the deck was stacked against Maryland-Eastern Shore. Playing on the road against a power conference team like Georgetown is never an easy task, but the Hawks looked to put together a strong performance.
Inside the Verizon Center, the Hoyas got a game-high 30 points from D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, and they capitalized on a sluggish first half by the Hawks to cruise to the 68-49 victory.
The teams traded baskets in the first two minutes of the game, as Bradley Hayes notched the first four points for Georgetown, while Dominique Elliott and Devin Martin would get the Hawks on the board.
At the 18:09 mark of the opening half, Smith-Rivera hit a three-pointer to put the Hoyas up, 7-4, and they would lead for the duration of the game. Marcus Derrickson, Reggie Cameron, and Smith-Rivera would add to the Hoyas’ lead, stretching the margin to 10 points as the first half wore on.
Maryland-Eastern Shore would do their best to chip away at the deficit, as the trio of Martin, Elliott, and Ryan Andino would do their best to keep the Hawks within single-digits of the Hoyas. Elliott would hit one-of-two free throws with 7:04 remaining in the first half to cut the deficit to 26-17, but the Hawks would go cold from the field down the stretch.
Georgetown closed the first half on a 12-3 run, and cruised into the half with a 38-20 lead over the Hawks.
In the opening minutes of the second half, the Hawks desperately tried to cut into the lead, but the Hoyas always had an answer. A three pointer from Tre Campbell pushed the lead to 21 points. Credit the Hawks for never giving up, as they followed up Campbell’s three ball with a 9-0 run of their own to get back into the game. Dontae Caldwell and Mark Blackmon spearheaded the run for the Hawks, as they cut the lead to 46-34.
From there on out, the Hoyas had the game on cruise control. The Hawks would get to within 11 points on a pair of occasions, but would never seriously threaten Georgetown’s lead. Down the stretch, the Hoyas would rely on strong free throw shooting to preserve their lead, and come away with the victory.
When the final buzzer went off, the Georgetown Hoyas came away with a 68-49 victory over the Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks.
For the visitors, this could be the game that sophomore Ryan Andino needed to get back on track. He scored a season-high 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting, including 4-of-5 from beyond the arc. Dominique Elliott recorded 11 points and 4 rebounds in the loss.
Junior Bakari Copeland has an uncharacteristically quiet day, recording 0 points (0-of-5) and 3 rebounds.
As for the Hoyas, they were led by their senior leader, D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera. He recorded a game-high 30 points to go along with 2 rebounds and 2 assists. Bradley Hayes narrowly missed out on a double-double, recording 11 points and 9 rebounds in the victory.
For the Hoyas, it was Isaac Copeland who had put together a performance that one wouldn’t expect to see from him. He was held to 0 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists on the night.
The loss wasn’t the start the Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks (1-5) were looking to get as they kicked off their seven-game road swing. There are still positives to take from the game, as Ryan Andino looks to have found his groove, and Dominique Elliott continued his strong play. They will look to get back to their winning ways when they take on North Carolina Central on Saturday in a MEAC showdown.
As for the Georgetown Hoyas (3-3), the win takes them back to the .500 mark on the season, and gives them their second straight impressive victory. Mind you, they were over mid-major programs, but it’s a step in the right direction after their sluggish start to the year. They will look to keep things going on Saturday when they welcome #14 Syracuse to town.