FROSTBURG, MD —
The Frostburg State men's basketball team will face its toughest task of the season on Saturday when it visits national power Christopher Newport at 4 p.m., and the Bobcats and third-year head coach Webb Hatch would like nothing more than to be a piece of coal in the Captains' Christmas stocking.
The Bobcats, who take a 5-3 record and a season-high three-game winning streak into the contest, have seem to found their groove as of late.
Two players who have put Hatch more at ease have been senior guard Sean Brown and junior forward Pierre Bowery. The duo has combined to score 155 of FSU's 250 points (a whopping 62 percent) over the last three games.
"Sean and Pierre have played exceptionally well the last three games, and it's no mystery that our playing better as a team has something to do with them," said Hatch.
Brown, FSU's vocal and fiery leader, is averaging 21.6 points and 6.0 assists in the winning streak, while Bowery has been outstanding on the offense end, posting 26.7 points and 10.0 rebounds over the last three contests.
In his last outing, a 74-57 win over Mount Aloysius December 10, Bowery exploded for 25 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high seven blocked shots.
"We've found our substitution pattern and we're pretty comfortable with who we're starting," said Hatch, who also noted the solid play of senior forward Elroy Henley and junior guard A.J. Ernst. "Earlier in the year, we were trying to blend new guys in with old guys; we now have a good feel for who should play where."
While the Bobcats have been playing mix and match while trying to find the right lineup, Christopher Newport has made the most of having four returning starters from last year's squad that finished 25-4 and advanced to the NCAA Division III Elite Eight. The Captains have also played seven of their first eight games this season at home.
CNU, which improved to 7-1 with Wednesday's 68-55 win over Savannah Art & Design, is averaging 81.9 points per game while holding opponents to 67.4 points and 38.9 percent shooting per contest.
Junior guard Jermaine Woods, one of four CNU players scoring in double figures, leads the Captains with 17.8 points per game and has drained a team-high 22 three-pointers. He has paced the squad in scoring in each of the last four games and is averaging 21.8 points per contest in that span.
The Bobcats will also have to contend with 6-6 junior center Terry Gray (13.5 ppg, 8.5 rpg), junior forward Carlos Heard (11.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg) and senior guard Albert Haskins (10.9 ppg, 5.6 apg, 2.0 spg).
Frostburg State has shown its ability to score this year, averaging 81.6 points per game, but Hatch feels it will take tougher defending and rebounding to have success against the Captains. The Bobcats are giving up 77.1 points per outing and are outrebounding opponents, 40.0 to 37.5.
"This is a big game for us," said Hatch, who expressed concern about not having played since December 10. "It's the first time in my three years here that we've had the chance to face a team ranked in the top 10 in the nation.
"This is a game we need to play to see where we are," he added. "It's not going to make or break our season, but it's a game we'd sure like to play well in and win."
For further information on this release, contact:
Office of Sports Information
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD 21532-2303