WILMINGTON, North Carolina – Two of the NCAA’s preeminent rebounders – UNCW’s Keith Rendleman and Delaware’s Jamelle Hagins – will be on display Saturday night when the Seahawks and Blue Hens meet in a Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball rematch at Trask Coliseum.
The Blue Hens downed the Seahawks, 71-56, in the first pairing between the two teams on Feb. 2 in Newark, Dela. UD, 15-13 overall and 10-5 in the CAA, has won four of its last five games, including a double overtime thriller over Drexel on Thursday night. UNCW, 10-17 and 5-10, lost its sixth game in eight outings with an 84-61 defeat at Old Dominion on Wednesday.
Saturday’s 7 p.m. tip-off can be heard on the radio locally on Sunny 104.5 FM or via the internet on www.1045SunnyFM.com. Live stats will be provided on UNCWsports.com and in-game Twitter updates can be found on @uncwmenshoops.
“We only have three games left in the season, so we’d like to finish up on a good note,” said UNCW Head Coach Buzz Peterson, who is completing his third year at the helm. “Delaware is one of the hottest teams in the league. They have a well-balanced team with a great inside-outside punch in (Jamelle) Hagins and (Devon) Saddler.”
Hagins and Saddler combined for 45 points and 20 rebounds in Thursday’s nail biter at the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark. Hagins wound up with 14 points and 18 rebounds in 42 minutes, while Saddler poured in a career-high 31 points and played 49 of the possible 50 minutes in the contest.
Hagins, a 6-9, 235-pound senior, went over the 1,000-rebound mark in his career and helped the Blue Hens sweep the regular season series from the Dragons for the first time since the 1999-00 season. He scored 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds in the first matchup with the Seahawks earlier this month.
Saddler, meanwhile, is averaging 15 field goal attempts per game and leads the CAA in scoring at 20.1 ppg. He is shooting 43.1 percent from the floor and an impressive 82.3 percent at the free throw line. The 6-2, 210-pound scorer has reached double figures in 34 consecutive games, the second longest active streak in NCAA Division I.
“He’s a strong player who has a knack for scoring,” said Peterson. “He can score in a lot of different ways and when he’s fouled, he makes you pay at the free throw line.”
Saddler has faced the Seahawks four times in his career and averaged 21.5 points and 5.0 rebounds against UNCW. He has netted 19, 22, 24 and 21 points in those contests.
Saddler is one three players averaging in double figures for the Blue Hens, who are 6-7 away from home with a two-game road winning streak. Sophomore guard Jarvis Threatt is contributing 12.5 ppg and Hagins is chipping in 11.9 ppg.
The Blue Hens held the Seahawks to just 34.5 percent shooting in the first clash, including 2-of-13 behind the arc. UD didn’t fare much better from deep, failing to scratch with a 0-for-11 performance in long distance shooting.
The Seahawks are hoping to bounce back following the 23-point loss at ODU. The Monarchs shot 58.9 percent from the floor to gain a split of the regular season series in their final tour of the CAA before leaving for Conference USA.
History was made early in the second half when Rendleman grabbed his fifth rebound of the contest to become UNCW’s all-time leading rebounder, surpassing all-time great Brian Rowsom in the record books. Rendleman now ranks fifth in career scoring with 1,442 points and first in rebounding with 1,022 boards in 120 appearances.
The Iron Station, N.C., workhorse owns 17 double-doubles on the season (39 in his career), but was limited to 11 points and five rebounds in the first game with the Blue Hens. It was one of just 10 times this season that he’s been held under double digits in rebounds and his second fewest of the season (next to three at James Madison on Jan. 9).
UNCW has had the best of it in the 22-game series, leading by a 16-6 margin. The two teams have split the last 10 games, however, and the Blue Hens have won two straight over the Seahawks.
Trask Coliseum, where the Seahawks have amassed a 9-3 record this season, has been a house of horrors for the Blue Hens. After winning the first game in the series, 65-60, behind playmaker Mike Slattery on Jan. 12, 2002, UD has lost eight in a row in Wilmington. The streak includes a 23-point pummeling, 76-53, two years ago.
Following Saturday’s contest, the Seahawks conclude their home schedule on Wednesday with a 7 p.m. date against William & Mary. It will be the final home appearance for Rendleman and fellow senior Matt Wilson.
UNCW then wraps up the season by traveling to Philadelphia on Saturday, Mar. 2, for a 7 p.m. tip-off at preseason favorite Drexel.