UMES accepts postseason bid to CIT < All News
Sunday, March 15, 2015

PRINCESS ANNE, Md. – The University of Maryland Eastern Shore men’s basketball team will participate in the 2015 Tournament, earning the first postseason berth for the program in three decades. The Hawks will travel to North Carolina to play the High Point Panthers on Wednesday, March 18 at 7 p.m.

Wednesday’s game will be broadcasting with streaming video on Hawks fans can also tune into the Hawks Radio Network on and Fox Sports 960 AM in Salisbury, Md with Doug Newton calling the play-by-play.

The Hawks finished their season with an 18-14 record, and a third-place finish in the MEAC with an 11-5 mark in conference play. With 18 victories, UMES enjoyed their most successful season since the 1973-74 season which culminated in a MEAC championship and an appearance in the NIT. With a quarterfinal loss to Hampton on Thursday, the Hawks’ hopes of playing in the NCAA Tournament for the first time were dashed. However, with an overall winning record for the year, UMES was invited to participate in another postseason competition, the Tournament.

For UMES, Wednesday’s game will represent the first postseason play beyond conference tournaments since the 1980-81 season. At the time, UMES was a member of the NAIA, competing in the NAIA District 19 Tournament after the regular season. The Hawks’ most recent postseason win, excluding MEAC Tournaments, is an 84-81 win over Hampton University in the NAIA Districts in 1981.

Previous postseason success for UMES came in the early 70s during the Hawks’ heyday under head coach John Bates. UMES finished runners-ups in the 1973 NAIA Tournament, with a 99-96 loss to Guilford in the championship game. The next year, UMES accepted a bid to compete in the National Invitational Tournament, beating Manhattan College, 84-81 in the first round. The Hawks later lost to Jacksonville University in the NIT quarterfinals. Other postseason appearances include reaching NAIA Nationals in 1960, 1969 and 1970. The 1969 team, led by head coach Joe Robinson, also finished as NAIA runner-ups.

High Point enters the postseason with a 22-9 record, having finished in second place in the Big South with a 13-5 conference record. The Panthers lost in the quarterfinals of the Big South Tournament, 72-71 in overtime to Gardner-Webb. High Point has earned a postseason bid in each of the last three seasons, though they are still in search of the program’s first-ever postseason victory.

The Postseason Tournament consisted of 32 teams, all from mid-major conferences. This year’s tournament will be the seventh edition of the CIT, which was created in 2009. There is no preset bracket format, instead the matchups are determined after each round is completed. The first round will be played on Tuesday and Wednesday, with second-round games to follow on Friday and Saturday. The quarterfinals are scheduled for March 24-25, and the semifinals to be played on March 31. The championship game will be played on April 2.

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