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MEAC Monday: Hampton plays in Puerto Rico while UMES and Bethune-Cookman release 2017-2018 schedules

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Who is ready to compete in the MEAC?

NCAA Basketball: Maryland - E. Shore at Virginia Tech Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

WE HAVE SOME BASKETBALL GAME ACTION!

Two more MEAC teams have released their 2017-2018 schedules. Yet what really gets me excited is live basketball action, and thanks to Hampton we have a little warm up for the upcoming season.

How well are the Hampton Pirates coming together? A team-building trip can give us a few answers.

Hampton’s trip to Puerto Rico

The Pirates played three games this weekend in Puerto Rico against international competition and went 3-0. On Friday, the Pirates defeated UC Bayamon 86-60 behind an impressive defensive performance. Outstanding sophomore guard Jermaine Marrow led the charge with 14 points, seven assists and five rebounds. The Pirates saw three others score in double figures as Austin Colbert scored 13, Lysander Bracey had 12 and Greg Heckstall added 10 points accompanied with 12 rebounds. The balanced offensive attack provided a comfortable lead, but it was the stifling defense that made the difference. The Pirates held UC Bayamon to just 26 percent shooting on the night.

In game two, Hampton needed a huge second half run to beat host American University of Puerto Rico. The Pirates shot lights out in the second half en route to a 19-1 run. They trailed by four at the half but shot 58 percent from the floor and 62 percent from three. Hampton had five players score in double figures, led by Trevond Barnes’ 24 points. Marrow added 13, Heckstall and Bracey both scored 12 and Akim Mitchell provided a double double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

In the weekend finale, Hampton held off Universidad Metropolitana for a 78-64 win. Again the Pirates put together one complete half, this time in the first half before being outscored 32-29 in the second. Marrow had another excellent game, scoring 21 along with nine boards to lead the Pirates.

Bethune-Cookman’s 2017-2018 Schedule

On Aug. 10, Bethune-Cookman released its full schedule for the 2017-2018 season. New coach Ryan Ridder has put together a solid non-conference lineup to get his program going in the right direction.

The Wildcats open the season at home against Johnson University-Florida on Nov. 10. The following week they head to Texas for games against UTRGV and North Texas. They get a real big test when they head to Atlanta to face Georgia Tech on Nov. 19. Bethune-Cookman also has some key home non-conference games against mid-major opponents. Fellow HBCU Grambling State will enter Moore Gymnasium Nov. 21. Both programs have new head coaches looking to make early statements for their respective programs.

The Wildcats also host Cal-Poly and Boston University early in December. BU will be a good challenge as it went 18-14 last season with a double OT loss in its conference tournament semifinal. To end the non-conference, Bethune-Cookman will play Washington on Dec. 19 followed by Washington State on Dec. 22. The Wildcats begin MEAC play just after the New Year at home against South Carolina State. The complete schedule can be seen here.

UMES’ 2017-2018 Schedule

Looking to build off their MEAC tournament semifinals run from last season, the Hawks have released their 2017-2018 schedule. They will compete in the Emerald Coast Classic where they will face Maryland, St. Bonaventure and Georgetown. The Hawks will know early on what type of pedigree they will have as all three of these games are in early November. In the late rounds of the Emerald Coast Classic, they could face Jackson State, Nebraska Omaha or Tennessee Tech.

The non-conference schedule doesn’t necessarily let up. On Nov. 27 UMES will travel to Norfolk for a game against Old Dominion. On Dec. 6, American University will come to Princess Ann, Maryland as the Hawks will play host before six consecutive road games. During that road trip, UMES will see tough competition as it faces Liberty, Virginia Tech, Creighton and Iowa State.

MEAC play begins on the road when UMES travels to Morgan State on Jan. 3.