Ten road contests, Emerald Coast Classic highlight non-conference play for the Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks

In his fourth season as the head coach at Maryland-Eastern Shore, Bobby Collins has put together yet another tough non-conference slate that will challenge the Hawks from the outset.

PRINCESS ANNE, Md. — Bobby Collins is entering his fourth season as the head coach of the Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks in 2017-18, and he’s looking to get the team back into the post-season for the first time since 2014-15.

In Collins’ first year in Princess Anne, he guided the Hawks to a record of 18-15 overall, and a spot in the 2015 CollegeInsider.com Tournament. Despite an opening round loss to the High Point Panthers, the season was a success for the Hawks.

Fast forward to the 2017-18 season, and the Hawks are coming off back-to-back losing seasons. Last season, they took a step forward again, finishing sixth in the MEAC standings, and they advanced to the MEAC Tournament semi-finals.

Heading into this season, the Hawks are looking to build off of last year’s momentum, and contend for a MEAC title once more.

On the team’s official website, the Hawks have posted their 2017-18 schedule, which includes 15 non-conference contests. Coach Collins has assembled another tough slate of games that will test his players from the outset.

Out of the gate last season, the Hawks lost their first seven contests, all to Division I opponents, before they notched their first win on December 5th.

This season, however, their first win should come much earlier. On opening night, the Hawks welcome the Valley Forge Patriots to Princess Anne. The two squared off last season to close out non-conference play for the Hawks, and Eastern Shore rolled to the 90-65 win behind 23 points from Ryan Andino.

From there, the Hawks go on the road for a trio of games, two of which are a part of the 2017 Emerald Coast Classic.

They pay a visit to College Park, MD on November 12th to take on the Maryland Terrapins, then head to Allegany, NY three days later for a date with the St. Bonaventure Bonnies. Both are opening round games for the Emerald Coast Classic.

Eastern Shore and the Terrapins last squared off in the 2015-16 season, also in College Park. Maryland held down home court with a 77-56 decision.

The last time the Hawks and Bonnies squared off was back in the 2014-15 season. Five different Hawks scored in double-figures, and Eastern Shore held on in the second half for the 82-80 win. Devin Martin had 17 points, while Michael Myers, Jr. had 19 points and seven rebounds to pace the Hawks, who led by 12 points at half-time (45-33).

A date with the Georgetown Hoyas in the nation’s capitol on November 18th follows for the Hawks. The last time the two met, back in 2015-16, the Hoyas rolled to the 19-point victory.

Eastern Shore then heads to Niceville, Florida for a pair of games as a part of the Emerald Coast Classic. The pairings have yet to be released, but the other teams in the event are the Omaha MavericksJackson State Tigers, and Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles.

The Hawks remain on the road for a date with the Old Dominion Monarchs, before returning to Princess Anne for their second home contest of the year. Eastern Shore plays host to the American Univ. Eagles in a return game from last season.

The Eagles held down home court last season with a 61-58 victory. A layup in the closing minutes from Delante Jones gave American a 57-55 lead, and they held on for the three-point win.

A six game road trip ensues for the Hawks, with dates against the likes of the Virginia Tech HokiesIowa State CyclonesCreighton Bluejays, and Drake Bulldogs among the six games.

In their final non-conference game, and final game of the 2017 calendar year, the Hawks welcome the Central Pennsylvania College Knights to town. Last season, the Hawks knocked off the Knights for their first victory of the season, 87-74.

To open the new year, Eastern Shore will kick off their 16-game MEAC schedule with a road date against the Morgan State Bears on January 3rd. Their regular season concludes on February 26th at home against the Delaware State Hornets.

It’s another challenging non-conference slate for the Hawks that will test the players from the outset. Eastern Shore, led by returnees Andino, Dontae Caldwell, and Logan McIntosh, will make things interesting all throughout the 2017-18 season.

Look for the Hawks to be right near the top of the MEAC standings in 2017-18. College Court Report will have coverage of Maryland-Eastern Shore all season long.

– T. Bennett