UMES men's basketball coach Bobby Collins watches his team play during the second half against Missouri.
UMES men's basketball coach Bobby Collins watches his team play during the second half against Missouri. (L.G. Patterson / Associated Press)

The UMES men's basketball team scored one fewer point than Georgetown in the second half, but it wasn't enough to prevent the team from tumbling to a 68-49 loss Tuesday night.

The Hawks are 1-5 so far, but those five losses came against opponents from larger programs. That's partly why coach Bobby Collins isn't going crazy about the team's record.

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"I think Georgetown's a very good team, Missouri's a good team, Kansas State is a very good team, Wofford is a very good team, and so is Fairfield," he said Wednesday afternoon. "I think we might hear those teams' names again in March. So to be 1-5 at this moment, I'm far from discouraged. I just want my team to get better, and for us, it's really about being good in those games in March. That's where I'm focusing."

UMES can now turn its attention to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference portion of its schedule. The team will open league play Saturday at North Carolina Central, which is 1-4 but owns the second-longest active Division I win streak at home at 36. (Arizona owns the longest streak at 42.)

"We understand they're a very good team," Collins said. "… We have to really buckle down and defend and play as a unit. We know after playing those first six games, some of the smoke will clear this weekend. We will kind of know where we are and what we're capable of. It's hard to know where you are until you start playing some of the teams on the same level as you are."

The Hawks will play their second MEAC game on Monday at North Carolina A&T (1-7) and Collins said opening the season with four of six games on the road has readied the team for the upcoming three-day assignment.

"Playing in a hostile Kansas State environment is going to prepare us for North Carolina Central," he said. "Playing at A&T, being in Missouri is going to prepare us for them. I think being on the road builds character and builds chemistry. Hopefully, we get that, and it can click at any time. If it does, then it can be a problem for the rest of the league."

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