Saturday afternoon gives college basketball fans an under-the-radar instate rivalry game, as the Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks continue their seven-game road swing with a date against the high-powered Maryland Terrapins. The Hawks are looking to put an end to their four-game losing streak, while the Terrapins are going for their 9th win of the 2015-16 season.
On paper, this game has all the makings of ending up how the Hawks’ last game did at Michigan State (hint: not good). But, that’s why the games are played, because anything can happen, and anyone can win or lose on any given night. With talent on both sides of the floor, this game has the potential to be a good one to watch.
After their poor showing on Wednesday night, one can bet that the Hawks will come out with a chip on their shoulder and will look to put up a great performance against another top-tier opponent. The Terrapins will look to successfully defend their home court against an instate rival, and make a statement with a dominant showing.
Here’s everything you need to know about the showdown between the Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks and the Maryland Terrapins.
Location: XFINITY Center, College Park, MD
Spread: Maryland (-32.0)
Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks (1-8, 0-2)
Entering Saturday afternoon’s contest against instate rival Maryland, the Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks haven’t enjoyed much success in 2015-16. Through their first nine games, they have only played two contests on their home floor, and they find themselves in the midst of a 7-game road trip to boot. Playing on the road hasn’t been too kind to the Hawks this season, as they are 0-7 to date. They will look to change that when they take on the Terrapins inside the XFINITY Center.
In their last time out, the Hawks took on the nation’s top team in the Michigan State Spartans. They hung around in the opening few minutes, but a 19-2 run by the Spartans broke things open and the Hawks were never able to make any kind of comeback throughout the rest of the game. They would eventually fall by the score of 78-35. The 35-point performance was their lowest of the season.
The road doesn’t get any easier for the Hawks, as they face off against the Terrapins who are ranked 6th in the country. If UMES wants to have any chance to knock off the Terrapins, they will have to fix up a few things that went wrong against the Spartans.
For starters, the Hawks are not a strong shooting team to begin with. As a team, they are shooting 38.2% from the floor on the season, and they shot just 21.9% in their loss to the Spartans. They were forcing too many opportunities, trying to play catch-up from the start of the game. Then, they tried to play through big man Dominique Elliott in the middle early on. When that didn’t work, they struggled to find a go-to option. The Hawks will need to get everyone involved from the outset, so they can get the feel for the game and have an impact from the start.
The play of guards Devin Martin, Thomas Rivera, and Ryan Andino will be crucial to the team’s success on Saturday afternoon. They will be given the tall task of guarding the likes of Melo Trimble, Rasheed Sulaimon, and Jared Nickens, and that’s never easy to do. If they can have an impact on offense, and come up with crucial defensive stops to throw Trimble and Sulaimon off their games early on, then the Hawks could steal a win away from the Terrapins.
Maryland Terrapins (8-1, 0-0)
Entering the 2015-16 season, the Maryland Terrapins were one of the top teams in the country, and constantly found themselves in the conversation for the #1 ranking and legitimate national title contenders. They enter Saturday afternoon with an 8-1 record, and still look like a top threat for the National Championship come April.
While they have 8 wins on their resume so far this season, the Terrapins have had to overcome adversity on several occasions to get to where they are. Maryland had to battle down to the wire against Georgetown, Radford, Illinois State, and Connecticut to come away with wins. These were games that the Terrapins were expected to win rather easily, but they had to fight to make it happen.
Facing adversity early on in the season could set the team up for success down the road when they find themselves in a tight game in conference play, and that’s what head coach Mark Turgeon is banking on. Hopefully the team can build off their experiences in close games and keep pulling out the close wins moving forwards.
Entering Saturday’s game, the Terrapins are favoured by 32-points over the visiting Hawks. On paper, Maryland should win this game with relative ease, but they will need big performances from their stars in order to come away with the victory. Melo Trimble has continued his ascent to stardom this season, and is starting to play with even more confidence than he had last season. The star guard is averaging 15.6 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per contest. He has incredible ball handling skills and quickness, and he has the ability to take full control of a game.
However, it’s the play of Georgia Tech-transfer Robert Carter in the middle that could have the biggest impact against the Hawks. The 6’9” junior will spend the bulk of his time matched up against Dominique Elliott or Bakari Copeland, and he will need to keep them in check over the course of the game. On offense, Carter is averaging 13.0 points per game and is shooting an impressive 62.9% from the floor. If he can keep up his strong play on both ends of the floor, the Terrapins should roll over the Hawks.
Players to Watch
Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks
Thomas Rivera (G) – 4.0 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 2.4 apg
Ryan Andino (G) – 6.1 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 0.9 apg
Devin Martin (G) – 14.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.3 apg
Melo Trimble (G) – 15.6 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 5.4 apg
Robert Carter (F) – 13.0 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.4 bpg
Diamond Stone (C) – 10.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.0 bpg
Saturday afternoon marks the first meeting between the Terrapins and the Hawks since 2012, when Maryland routed Maryland-Eastern Shore to the tune of 100-68. The Hawks are hoping to put up a stronger fight against the Terrapins, while Maryland is looking for another dominant performance against an instate rival.
Michigan State laid the blueprint for the Terrapins when they took on the Hawks on Wednesday, exploiting their weaknesses every chance they got. The Hawks will need to make smarter decisions on offense, work the ball inside-out, and take the open shots when they present themselves. Otherwise, they could find themselves in the same spot as Wednesday and have to play catch-up once again.
The odds are stacked against the Hawks, and many think their losing streak will reach 5. However, that’s all on paper. The game still has to be played, and anything can truly happen.