WILMINGTON, NC Jan. 25, 2013 – UNCW travels to bone-chilling Long Island on Saturday in search of its first road win of the season against a team that put up the second most points in the Buzz Peterson Era last February.
The Seahawks, 7-11 overall and 2-4 in the Colonial Athletic Association, tip off against Hofstra’s Pride, 5-14 and 2-4, at 2 p.m. at the David S. Mack Sports Complex. UNCW is 0-10 away from Wilmington this season and needs a road win badly.
“We’ve tried a lot of different things, but every game is a new opportunity,” said Peterson, who is completing his third year at the helm. The Pride routed the Seahawks, 93-64, in the regular season finale one year ago. “We just need to go to Hofstra, execute our game plan and everything else will take care of itself. Like most teams, Hofstra plays very well at home and it will be a challenge for us.”
UNCW had its two-game winning streak snapped Wednesday night in an 81-63 loss at Georgia State. The Panthers used two big runs to extend UNCW’s winless streak on the road to 16 games carrying over to last season.
Senior forward Keith Rendleman and junior guard Chris Dixon did their part for the Seahawks, though. Rendleman finished with his 10th double-double of the season courtesy of 23 points and 10 rebounds, while Dixon contributed 20 points from the backcourt. It marked the first time the Seahawks have boasted a pair of 20-point scorers in a game since Rendleman and Chad Tomko accomplished the feat on Feb. 23, 2011, in Wilmington.
“Keith and Chris were outstanding in Atlanta,” said Peterson. “Some of our other starters did not play quite as well and that cost us. We have to get more consistent up and down the lineup to be successful on a regular basis.”
Hofstra has also struggled at times this season. The Pride stood 3-2 after reeling off three straight wins back in late November, but has lost 12 of 14 games since, including three straight to Northeastern, George Mason and Drexel. The latest dagger came Wednesday when CAA First-Teamer Frantz Massenat heaved in a 50-footer at the buzzer to silence the Mack Complex faithful, 55-52.
“Hofstra played very well against Drexel,” Peterson noted. “Taran Buie is very talented and he’s got some other good players around him. That was a difficult way to lose, so I’m sure they’re anxious to get back on the court.”
Buie, a sophomore transfer from Penn State, tops the Pride in scoring at 15.2 ppg and ranks ninth in the CAA just behind Rendleman. He poured 29 points against the Dragons, connecting on 10-of-20 field goal attempts and 7-of-11 behind the arc. Only four other players scored for Hofstra, accounting for 23 points on the night.
Rendleman, meanwhile, is well on his way to First-Team All-CAA honors for the second straight year. The 6-8, 220-pounder is averaging a double-double of 15.9 points and 10.6 rebounds through 18 outings, hitting 52 percent from the floor. With 1,291 points, he needs just 29 more to scoot past Stan Simmons into seventh place on the all-time scoring list.
Saturday is the 26th meeting between the two teams since Hofstra joined the CAA during the 2001-02 season. UNCW leads the series by a slim 13-12 margin, but Hofstra has won eight of the last nine matchups. The Seahawks are 4-7 against Hofstra in Long Island and have lost four in a row in New York since an 87-83 overtime victory on Dec. 1, 2007.
The Seahawks and Pride have squared off in some wild affairs in Hempstead. The two teams played overtime games in 2006, 2007 and 2009 at the Mack Complex, including a triple overtime thriller on Jan. 14, 2006.
The game could be a low-scoring one. UNCW ranks ninth in the league in scoring at 61.9 ppg and Hofstra occupies the baseman at 60.8 ppg. The two clubs also rank ninth (UNCW at 40.8 percent) and 11th (Hofstra at 39.1 percent) in field goal percentage.
UNCW has just 12 games remaining in the season, evenly split between home and road contests. The Seahawks own the best home record in the conference at 7-1, but joins Hofstra (0-9) and Old Dominion (0-6) as teams without a road decision in 2012-13.
The Seahawks won’t have much time to prepare for their next outing. Following a quick flight back to Wilmington, UNCW entertains James Madison on Monday at 7 p.m., wrapping up a string of three games in six days for Peterson’s club. JMU handed UNCW a 78-50 loss just 18 days ago in Harrisonburg, Va.