WILMINGTON, NC Jan. 15, 2013 – Old Dominion makes its final trip to Trask Coliseum as a Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball opponent Wednesday night when the Conference USA-bound Monarchs visit UNCW for a 7 p.m. tip-off.
UNCW, 6-10 overall and 1-3 in the CAA, shoots for its second straight win after surprising George Mason, 82-74, last Saturday.
“Sometimes basketball is like a roller coaster,” reflected third-year UNCW Head Coach Buzz Peterson. “I hope the win over George Mason is a turning point for us and we can build on the confidence. We’re just striving to be a more consistent ball club.”
“We were able to hit some shots Saturday and that was the difference in the game. We had too many turnovers in the James Madison game, but I was encouraged that our guys turned it around.”
Wednesday’s matchup can be heard locally on Sunny 104.5 FM and on the web via www.1045sunnyfm.com. A pay-for-view video stream of the game may be accessed on UNCWsports.com and live Twitter updates will be provided through @uncwmenshoops.
In Saturday’s eye-opener over the Patriots, junior guard Chris Dixon of Montgomery, Ala., went 12-of-16 from the floor and made all four of his free throws for a career-high 30 points to help the Seahawks snap a nine-game losing streak against GMU.
“The thing that I was most pleased about with Chris was no turnovers. He did a nice job with the press and ball screens. It was not only a fine performance by Chris, but our bench play was critical. Luke (Hager), Shane (Reybold) and Tyree (Graham) all gave us a boost off the bench.”
The Seahawks stopped a four-game slide with their first conference win of the season and moved to 6-1 at home this year. Dixon led all scorers in the contest and topped his career-high of 20 points set on Dec. 8 at Georgia Tech.
Graham chipped in 15 points off the bench for UNCW and senior forward Keith Rendleman added a double-double of 11 points and 13 rebounds for the Seahawks. It was Rendleman’s eighth double-double of the campaign and the 30th of his storied career.
Rendleman has been the heart and soul of this year’s Seahawk team. The 6-8, 220-pound workhorse leads the team in almost every statistic, including scoring (15.6 ppg.) and rebounding (10.4 rpg). He has climbed into eighth on the school’s scoring list with 1,254 points and needs just 108 more caroms to unseat all-time great Brian Rowsom as the career rebounding leader.
ODU, 2-14 and 0-4, finds itself on the bottom looking up after being a conference heavyweight for many years. One of the team’s wins came on Dec. 22 when the Monarchs topped Virginia, 63-61.
ODU has struggled offensively this season, averaging just 62.2 points and shooting 39.4 percent from the floor – ranking the Monarchs 10th and 11th in the CAA in both statistical categories. Blaine Taylor’s unit is a strong rebounding club, however, and leads the league in rebounding margin at + 5.9.
N.C. State transfer DeShawn Painter has been a good pick-up for the Monarchs. The 6-9, 235-pound senior leads the team in scoring (11.2) and rebounding (8.1 rpg). He ranks second behind Seahawk standout Keith Rendleman in offensive rebounds in this week’s CAA statistics.
ODU owns a 29-17 advantage in the 46-game series with UNCW, but has dominated play in recent years. The Monarchs have won six straight over the Seahawks and 14 of the last 16 games. UNCW’s last win came on Mar. 1, 2008, when UNCW carved out a 72-64 triumph at Trask Coliseum.
Following Wednesday night’s clash, the Seahawks are idle until Jan. 23 when Peterson takes his club to Atlanta to play Georgia State. It begins a stretch of four road games in five outings for the team.