PRINCESS ANNE, Md. — With the conference title long out of the picture, Monday night’s contest is for pride.
The Delaware State Hornets visit the Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks in the only meeting of the 2017-18 season between the two schools, and both will be looking for a win to avoid the last-place spot. Monday marks the final game for the Hawks in the regular season, and a win would keep them out of the final spot.
As for the Hornets, who enter the day in 13th place of the 13-team league, they are hoping to pick up a win that would move them into a tie with the Hawks for 12th. The win would give Delaware State the 12th spot in the field, keeping them out of a solo last-place finish.
Nobody wants to finish in last place in the regular season standings, which is why both teams will bring their best on Monday night inside the Hytche Athletic Center. The Hawks will be honouring their seniors, and will want to send the pair of Logan McIntosh and Najee Fitzgerald off with a win.
Here’s what you need to know in advance of Monday night’s MEAC battle between Delaware State and Maryland-Eastern Shore.
Last Time Out
In their last outing, Maryland-Eastern Shore kicked off a two-game home swing to close the season with a date against the Norfolk State Spartans. In front of a large crowd inside the Hytche Athletic Center, the Hawks were unable to pick up another MEAC win, falling to the Spartans by 11 points, 74-63.
The loss extended the Hawks’ losing streak to five games.
Forward Tyler Jones came off the bench to score a game-high 21 points, while going 8-of-17 from the floor. Ahmad Frost and McIntosh added eight points apiece, and the pair combined for 15 assists. Colen Gaynor chipped in with eight points of his own off the bench.
After a win over the Coppin State Eagles, the Hornets were looking to pick up a second straight win in Washington, D.C. when they went on the road for a date with the Howard Bison. The duo of RJ Cole and Charles Williams had other ideas, and the Bison held down their home court with a convincing 93-74 win.
The Hornets’ win over the Eagles in the game prior is their lone Division I win of the season so far.
Despite the loss to the Bison, the Hornets had four players score in double-figures. Off the bench, Ameer Bennett had a team-high 16 points, while big man Joseph Lewis added 13 points of his own. Jonathan Walker had 15 points and four assists, while Johquin Wiley rounded out the four players in double figures with 14 points.
With Monday marking the lone meeting in 2017-18 between the Hornets and Hawks, one would have to go back to February 25th, 2017 for the last meeting between the two programs. It was also the only time they met during the 2016-17 season, but it was in Dover, DE. The Hawks trailed by 13 points at halftime, but used a strong comeback in the second half to pick up the 65-64 win.
Bakari Copeland led the Hawks with 17 points, on 6-of-11 shooting, in the win. McIntosh had 11 points, four rebounds, and three steals for a strong performance on both ends of the floor. Andino came off the bench to record 12 points, all of which came from three point range.
The Hawks trailed 41-28 at the break, but outscored the Hornets by a 37-23 margin in the second frame to pick up the one-point win.
Forward DeVaughn Mallory led the Hornets with 17 points and nine rebounds, narrowly missing the double-double. Devin Morgan Jr. had 14 points and six assists of his own, while Kavon Waller added 12 points in the loss.
Players to Watch
– 10.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.6 apg; 45.7% FG, 41.1% 3PT in 29 games.
– With Kobe Gantz having played just seven games this season, Tavakalyan is the Hornets’ top scorer this season.
– He has 14 games with double-digit points this season, but only two such performances over his last five outings.
– 8.7 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 2.8 apg, 1.5 spg; 39.2% FG, 32.2% 3PT in 29 games.
– Wiley joins Tavakalyan as the only two players to appear in all 29 games for Delaware State in 2017-18.
– The freshman from Chesterfield, VA is averaging a team-high 35.7 minutes per game, and is the only Hornet averaging more than 29 minutes per night out.
– 12.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 4.6 apg, 1.0 spg; 38.5% FG, 75.0% FT in 27 games.
– After the injury to Ryan Andino before the season, McIntosh is one of only two seniors on the roster this season for the Hawks (Fitzgerald).
– He posted 19 points, eight rebounds and six assists against the North Carolina A&T Aggies on February 19th, which is McIntosh’s only double-digit scoring game over his last five games.
– 11.2 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 0.9 apg, 0.6 spg; 44.2% FG, 63.2% FT in 27 games.
– Thomas is one of four freshman on the roster for the Hawks who is averaging at least 13 minutes per game and has played in 27 or more games (Cam Bacote, LeAndre Thomas, Sean Hoggs).
– After six straight games in double figures, Thomas has been held below 10 points in each of his last three games (7.7 ppg).
With Monday marking the final regular season game for the Hawks, the home side will want to end things with a win and enter the MEAC Tournament with any sort of positive momentum. The Hornets are looking to knock off the Hawks on their home floor to exact some revenge from last season, and move out of last place in the process this year.
As mentioned above, both teams have been out of the conference title race for quite some time, but they are playing for pride right down to the wire. On a night where the post-season gets underway in the Atlantic Sun Conference, look for both Delaware State and Eastern Shore to bring everything they have to the court.
Neither team scores a whole lot, which will make this another low-scoring affair. The Hawks will send their seniors off with one final home win in a close victory over Delaware State.
Maryland-Eastern Shore – 65
Delaware State – 61
– T. Bennett