WILMINGTON, North Carolina – UNCW puts its two-game winning streak on the line Saturday night when Buzz Peterson’s club opens December by traveling to the heart of West Virginia to take on Conference USA member Marshall at the Cam Henderson Center.
The Seahawks are coming off a pair of victories over the weekend in the Nations of Coaches Classic, where they defeated Wofford and Hampton for the Wilmington division crown. The pair of wins helped UNCW pull even at 3-3 on the season.
UNCW begins a stretch of three non-conference road games in four outings during a hectic time of year. Tip-off is 7 p.m. in Huntington.
“We have a tough road ahead in the next few weeks,” admitted Peterson, who earned his 250th coaching victory last week. “Our upcoming opponents are very good and we have the end of the semester upon us. It’s very important that we keep our focus, both on the court and in the classroom, this time of year.”
UNCW’s track record this season has been bi-polar – three trips on the road and three losses, three home games and three wins. Peterson says that’s not unusual for college hoops.
“I think that’s indicative of how things go,” he said. “It’s always difficult to play away from home, but it’s a challenge and one that we embrace. We’ll just have to stick to our game plan and keep improving heading into the conference schedule.”
Senior forward Keith Rendleman is off to a strong start in his final season with the Seahawks. The Iron Station, N.C., product has picked up where he left off in the 2011-12, averaging 16.3 points and 9.7 rebounds through six games. He is the only Seahawk averaging in double figures.
Marshall, meanwhile, will be trying to square the series after dropping the first two matchups in 2003 and 2004 before winning, 69-64, last season at Trask Coliseum. Senior point guard Damier Pitts took over at the end of last year’s contest and wound up with a game-high 21 points. He’s gone, but junior guard DeAndre Kane had 19 points and returns for the Thundering Herd, which is off to a 4-3 start.
According to Peterson, “Coach Herrion has one of his most talented teams at Marshall. They are versatile and deep. DeAndre Kane and D.D. Scarver make up one of the best backcourts we’ll face all season. They are a very explosive club and it will take a total team effort on both ends of the floor to come out on top.”
Marshall trumphed Morehead State, 70-67, on Wednesday behind Scarver’s 17 points. The Thundering Herd overcame 33 percent shooting by outscoring the Eagles, 28-8, at the free throw line to win their second straight and remain perfect at home in three tries.
Peterson, 11-7 lifetime against C-USA opponents, has used five different starting lineups in six games. Rendleman and junior shooter Tanner Milson are the only Seahawks to open every game in 2012-13.
The CAA is 2-0 against C-USA opponents this year after Drexel downed Rice, 55-47, last week in the DirecTV Classic in Anaheim, Calif. Hofstra also outlasted Marshall, 103-100, in double overtime on Nov. 18 in Hempstead, N.Y.
After Saturday’s trip to Huntington, the Seahawks return home to entertain NCAA Division II Coker on Wednesday, Dec. 5, in the second game of a rare doubleheader at Trask Coliseum. The UNCW women’s team battles UNC Charlotte at 5 p.m., followed by the men against the Cobras at 8 p.m.