WILMINGTON, NC Feb. 8, 2013 – The UNCW men’s basketball team tries to build on its most complete game of the season early Saturday when Hofstra visits Trask Coliseum for a rare Noon tipoff showcased on the CAA Television Network.
The Seahawks, 9-14 overall and 4-7 in the Colonial Athletic Association, knocked off third place Georgia State, 76-72, Wednesday night by shooting 52.9 percent from the floor and placing five men in double figures. Third-year Head Coach Buzz Peterson hopes the balanced attack is a blueprint for UNCW’s final seven games of the campaign.
“It was good to see some other guys step up,” said Peterson. “We’ve had glimpses throughout the season, but we probably played our best team game Wednesday. We just need to find that consistency every game and keep it going.”
Redshirt freshman Craig Ponder topped UNCW’s scorers with 17 points and “Mr. Reliable,” senior forward Keith Rendleman, added 15 points and 10 rebounds for his 13th double-double of the season. The Seahawks shot a blistering 61.5 percent in the first half before finishing above 50 percent for only the second time this year.
UNCW and Hofstra are playing for the second time in a two-week span. The Seahawks snapped a 16-game road losing streak on Jan. 26 with a 57-51 decision in Hempstead, N.Y., behind Chris Dixon’s 22 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
Penn State transfer Taran Buie paces the Pride attack with 14.2 points per game and backcourt mate Stevie Mejia is contributing 10.5 points and four assists. Hofstra has dropped seven straight games but threw a scare into league-leader Northeastern on Wednesday before falling, 62-57, on Long Island.
“Hofstra is a very explosive team,” Peterson noted. “One thing they do very well is rebounding, so a big concern of ours is keeping them off the boards. They also have some of the fastest guards in the league. Hopefully, our guys will come out with some energy and be ready to play.”
The Seahawks hold a slight 14-12 advantage in the series since the two clubs began playing when the Pride joined the CAA in 2002. The teams have alternated wins and losses over the last four games, but UNCW owns a 7-4 edge at Trask Coliseum.
Peterson’s team has been impressive in Wilmington this season, compiling the CAA’s best home mark at 8-2. Hofstra, meanwhile, is winless in road games with a 0-11 mark, joining struggling Old Dominion as the only conference teams without a road win in 2012-13.
UNCW is playing the fourth of nine games in February. The Seahawks are 1-2 this month and Peterson owns a 5-14 record in the second month of the year in his three seasons.
Rendleman, a 6-8 workhorse from Iron Station, N.C., is concluding an outstanding four-year career. With 1,367 points, he needs 133 more markers to become one of just five players in school history to score 1,500 points. More importantly, he is closing in on Brian Rowsom’s rebounding mark and is only 39 caroms shy of eclipsing the longtime record.
Saturday’s contest will be televised locally through WECT-TV on the Bounce Network (Channel 121 on Time Warner Cable, Channel 94 on ATMC and Channel 137 on Charter Cable) as well as DirecTV and the Dish Network. It will be carried on Comcast Mid-Atlantic, Comcast Sports Net-Philadelphia, Comcast Sports Net New England, Comcast Sports Net Southeast (CSS) and the Madison Square Garden Network.
It may also be heard on the radio locally on Sunny 104.5 FM and on the internet by logging on to www.sunny1045FM.com. Live stats are available on UNCWsports.com and live Twitter updates can be accessed on @UNCWmenshoops.
Following Saturday’s early tip, the Seahawks visit William & Mary on Wednesday for the first of two matchups with the Tribe in the final weeks of the season.