Rams butt heads with Hawks in Legends Classic

Nov 20, 2014 - 3:37 PM Richmond, VA (SportsNetwork.com) - Taking on their second straight ranked opponent, the Hawks of Maryland Eastern Shore do battle with the 15th-ranked VCU Rams on Thursday night as part of the Progressive Legends Classic.

After opening the season with a 71-46 loss at Virginia Tech, the Hawks were then destroyed by Villanova, 81-44. On Wednesday night, UMES finally made it into the win column with a 53-41 victory versus Mount St. Mary's.

As for the Rams, they've won both of their early games on the schedule, taking out Tennessee at the 2014 Veteran's Classic (85-69) and then handing Toledo an 87-78 setback as part of the Legends Classic two nights ago. The schedule will get considerably more difficult following this outing, as VCU takes on Villanova and either Michigan or Oregon early next week in this tournament at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. New York.

In terms of an all-time series between these squads, the Rams have won five of the previous six encounters with UMES. The lone victory for the Hawks came back in 1968-69, the first season in which VCU was a member of Division I and when UMES was known as Maryland State.

After being punished by their first two opponents, it was time for the Hawks to dole out some of their own punishment last night as they held Mount St. Mary's to just 29.8 percent shooting from the field and a total of 41 points at Knott Arena.

The only double-digit scorer on either side was Devon Walker, who tallied 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field for the Hawks as they managed to get by with 40.9 percent shooting from the floor and 10-of-19 at the free-throw line, not to mention dealing with 15 turnovers.

After three games, Walker is averaging only 6.3 ppg, based on his mere 36.8 percent accuracy from the field. Ahead of him on offense are Devin Martin (11.0 ppg) and Michael Myers (10.0 ppg), although the former is even less accurate from the field at a dismal 31.6 percent. The Hawks as a group are shooting 34.1 percent and averaging just 47.7 ppg.

VCU actually trailed Toledo at the break in the latest outing by three points, but then the Rams shot 47.8 percent from the floor and outscored the visitors at the free-throw line, 19-7, over the final 20 minutes in order to secure the win.

Except for Mo Alie-Cox who tallied just two points, every starter for VCU ended up in double figures, beginning with Treveon Graham and Melvin Johnson with 22 points apiece, followed by Briante Weber with 19 points and Jordan Burgess 11. But more than just scoring points Weber, who did not play in the opener, filled his stat line with eight rebounds, seven assists and nine steals in 34 minutes of action.

Johnson is producing 22.5 ppg, thanks to his 8-of-19 effort out on the perimeter, while Graham checks in with a double-double consisting of 18.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per contest. Burgess, a 63.6 percent shooter, adds 10.5 ppg to the attack.

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