WILMINGTON, NC Jan. 8, 2013 – The UNCW men’s basketball team has reached the midway point in the season and hopes that milepost will bring its first Colonial Athletic Association victory after two league losses by a combined nine points.
The Seahawks, 5-9 and 0-2, opened conference action last week with defeats to Towson (79-74) and Northeastern (68-64), two teams sitting atop the CAA standings with unblemished 2-0 marks. UNCW now takes on James Madison Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the JMU Convocation Center.
The game can be heard locally on Sunny 104.5 FM or on the internet at Sunny1045fm.com. Live stats are on UNCWsports.com and live Twitter updates are available @uncwmenshoops. A pay-for-view videostream of the game can be found on JMUsports.com.
With 15 or more turnovers in seven of 14 contests, third-year coach UNCW Buzz Peterson says it’s all a matter of taking care of the basketball and gaining some confidence.
“We’ve had some critical turnovers at inopportune times and that’s hurt us,” said Peterson, who stands 28-48 at UNCW in three seasons. “We have to value the basketball, be strong with it and play with confidence. We’ve been giving up way too many points off turnovers, especially with drives and layups late in the game.”
UNCW is coming off a four-point loss to the Huskies in Boston last Saturday. The two teams locked up in a tight battle, with no more than six points separating the two teams, and Bill Coen’s veteran team finally came out on top.
“We’re disappointing in where we are right now,” Peterson continued, “but we know there’s a long way to go. I told our guys that the only good thing about losing is that you have a chance to look at the film and learn from your mistakes. If we can learn from those, we can get some wins.”
The Seahawks and Dukes are meeting for the 63rd time since the inaugural matchup on Dec. 16, 1979. UNCW holds a 33-29 advantage in the long series, but JMU has won four of the last six games and three straight at the 7,156-seat arena.
Senior forward Keith Rendleman continues to shine for the Seahawks. The 6-8, 220-pound performance is averaging a double-double of 15.8 points and 10.8 rebounds with seven double-doubles already this season. He ranks eighth in the CAA in scoring, third in rebounding, sixth in field goal percentage and sixth in blocked shots.
“Keith is having a tremendous year,” said Peterson. “He catches the ball and our whole team is looking at him. We’d like for our guards to step up and make some shots to take the pressure off him.”
Rendleman, who has posted four straight double-doubles, has climbed into ninth place on UNCW’s all-time scoring list. He has scored 1,226 points in 107 career appearances and needs 24 points to move past Jim Hall into No. 8 on the charts.
The Dukes fell, 69-65, at Hampton Monday night to fall to 7-8 overall this season. Coach Matt Brady’s team stands 1-1 in the CAA, defeating Old Dominion and losing to Georgia State in a pair of road tests. JMU trailed the Pirates at halftime Monday, 30-29, and rallied late before dropping their fifth game in six road outings.
JMU stands 3-2 at home, beating Winthrop, East Tennessee State and UNC Greensboro. The Dukes lost home games to George Washington and Richmond.
Senior forward Rayshawn Goins anchors the JMU squad. The 6-6, 275-pound wide body is averaging 14.9 points and 8.2 rebounds, shooting all 15 games for the Dukes. He ranks 10th in the CAA in scoring and sixth in rebounding. Goins had 16 points and 12 rebounds in JMU’s loss at Hampton.
“Rayshawn Goins is a load for anybody,” Peterson said. “He’s a big concern for us. We have to keep him off the boards and make sure he doesn’t get any easy baskets.”
Winning away from Trask Coliseum has been a challenge for the Seahawks, who have lost 14 consecutive road games, including eight in a row this season. UNCW has not been victorious on the road since a 68-66 decision at William & Mary on Jan. 21, 2012.
Following Wednesday’s clash with the Dukes, the Seahawks return to Trask Coliseum for a two-game homestand, beginning Saturday with a televised pairing with George Mason at 2 p.m.