PRINCESS ANNE, Maryland — The University of Maryland Eastern Shore suffered perhaps its most disappointing loss of the season nine days ago in Dover as the team couldn’t find the game that got it to 11 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference victories. Morgan State took advantage of the Hawks’ slow start in the first quarter to win thcome away with a 57-53 victory.
“We didn’t come out ready to play,” Hawks coach Fred Batchelor said. “The time off has been killing us. We have lost our edge to be honest with you and we have to find a way to get it back before the end of our season.
“I know nobody is more disappointed than them and well find a way to work it out.”
Having played just three times in three weeks and going nine days since their last game — a loss at Delaware State — has done no favors to a team that had all the momentum they could ask for during a seven-game winning streak.
“I don’t think we took advantage of the time off,” Batchelor said. “We are not working like we need to work. I’m on them in practice to have the right mindset and we haven’t had it. The way we have played our last two games — that’s how practice has looked the last two weeks. Either we are going to make some adjustments or it is going to be a very disappointing end to what could have been a very special season.”
The Hawks (15-13, 11-4 MEAC) shot 37 percent from the field, 24 percent from behind the 3-point line, 58 percent from the free throw line and turned the ball over 20 times.
“When you don’t come out as the aggressor and you try to become the aggressor in the mix of the game, that doesn’t work because you start forcing stuff,” Batchelor said. “We celebrated a great accomplishment today and it looked like at the start of the game we just weren’t ready to play.”
Senior point guard Ciani Byrom (Winston-Salem, North Carolina) led the Hawks with 13 points, but did so on just 6-of-18 from the field (1-of-9 from 3) and added seven assists, but uncharacteristically turned the ball over seven times.
Before the game, Byrom was presented with a ball for surpassing 1,000 career points back on Jan. 14 in a loss to North Carolina A&T State.
Freshman Brooklyn Bailey (Rock Hill, South Carolina) was second with eight points in 16 minutes off the bench and senior Dominique Walker (Bel Air, Maryland) pulled down a team-high eight rebounds to go with six points.
Ra’Jean Martin (Jacksonville, Florida) and Keyera Eaton (Winston-Salem, North Carolina) added seven points apiece and Eaton grabbed six rebounds.
The Hawks will host Delaware State in the regular season finale on Thursday evening at 5:30. It is senior night and the team will honor Byrom, Walker, Eaton and Martin in a pregame ceremony.