ATLANTA, GA Jan. 22, 2013 – The UNCW men’s basketball team shoots for its third consecutive win when Coach Buzz Peterson’s club travels to the Dogwood City Wednesday night to battle streaking Georgia State in the first of two games in 15 days between the two Colonial Athletic Association rivals.
The Seahawks, 7-10 overall and 2-3 in the CAA, take on the Panthers at 7 p.m. in UNCW’s final trip to the GSU Sports Arena. GSU, 9-11 and 4-3, is jettisoning from the CAA for the Sun Belt Conference after this season, making Wednesday’s tilt the last one in Atlanta between the two teams.
The game can he heard on the Seahawk Sports Network via UNCWsports.com or on-line at www.1045sunnyfm.com. In addition, live Twitter updates will be provided by following @uncwmenshoops.
“Georgia State is not real deep, but the guys they have are playing very good basketball,” Peterson said of the Panthers. ““They have three players – R.J. Hunter, Devonta White and Manny Atkins – who will provide a big challenge for us. We’ll have to do a good job with those three, in particular.
“We’ve been waiting on this game since last Thursday, and they’ve had two games since then. They’re playing with a lot of confidence right now. Georgia State can score the ball offensively, and we’ll have to be patient against their zone.”
UNCW has been idle since a 65-60 decision last Wednesday over struggling Old Dominion. Combined with an 82-74 verdict versus George Mason on Jan. 12, the win gives the Seahawks their first two-game winning streak since late November.
The matchup with the Panthers is the first of three games in six days for UNCW. The Seahawks are also playing four of their next five outings away from home, where they remain winless at 0-9 in 2012-13.
“It will be interesting to see how the schedule plays out,” added Peterson. “We knew it was coming, so we should be prepared. Winning on the road is tied to energy level. We have to do things at the beginning of the game and at the start of the second half. We’ve got to have some energy and be ready to go.”
Georgia State has reeled off wins over William & Mary, Old Dominion and Towson, giving Coach Ron Hunter’s club a boost for the stretch run. His son, R.J., is staking claim to CAA Rookie-of-the-Year accolades and is the league’s top freshman scorer (16.2 ppg) and rebounder (5.7).
Peterson said, “R.J. Hunter is a very talented scorer. He was one of the top five players in Indiana last year in high school. He’s very talented and could play at the highest level.”
White, a junior playmaker, is chipping in 14.1 points and 3.6 assists, while Atkins, a transfer from Virginia Tech, is adding 13.6 points and 6.2 boards in his first season with the Panthers. GSU stands 6-5 at home and rallied from 14 points down to cruise past the Tribe, 74-58, last Wednesday in its last home appearance.
GSU owns a slim 9-8 advantage in the 17-game series with the Seahawks, including a 9-6 advantage since joining the CAA in 2005-06. The Panthers stand 6-2 against the Seahawks in eight meetings in Atlanta.
The Seahawks have lost 15 consecutive games on the road and have not won away from home in over a calendar year, dating back to a 68-66 victory on Jan. 21, 2012, in Williamsburg. UNCW, Hofstra (0-9) and Old Dominion (0-6) are the only teams in the CAA still without a road win. The Seahawks do, however, own the best home record in the loop at 7-1.
“We haven’t done very well on the road and hopefully we can change that quickly,” said Peterson. “I wish somebody would write a book about road games – I’d buy every copy. We’ve had games where we played well on the road and just didn’t finish down the stretch. We have to take care of the ball late and take pride in defending.”
Following Wednesday’s journey to Atlanta, the Seahawks return to Wilmington briefly before traveling to Hofstra Saturday for a 2 p.m. battle with the Pride at the Mack Sports Complex. UNCW then returns home to entertain James Madison in a rematch on Monday, Jan. 28, at Trask Coliseum.