Seahawks Erase Matthews Curse, 70-62
Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications
BOSTON, Mass. - On a frigid Boston night when temperatures dipped into the teens, the UNCW men's basketball team heated up at the free throw line, draining 24-of-26 free throws to clip Northeastern, 70-62, in a Colonial Athletic Association men's basketball matchup Wednesday at 101-year-old Matthews Arena.
The Seahawks won their third straight and sixth in eight games to climb to 6-7 overall and 2-1 in the CAA. The Huskies had a two-game winning streak snapped and now stand 5-8 and 1-2.
UNCW freshman guard Adam Smith paced all scorers with 19 points, including 16 after intermission as the Seahawks took control down the stretch and sealed the game at the foul line. Junior forward Keith Rendleman continued his solid play with 17 points and 10 rebounds for his seventh double double of the season and second straight after Monday's monster effort against Delaware.
Freshman KK Simmons also chipped in a career-high 18 points and went 4-for-6 from long distance and 4-for-4 at the charity stripe, while another rookie, local product Freddie Jackson, contributed nine points and four rebounds.
"Overall, it was a tremendous team effort," said Buzz Peterson, UNCW's second-year coach. "To get back into the top third of the conference, we have to win games like this. We didn't play all that great in the first half, but got back on track in the second half. We won it on the defensive end by doing a good job there."
Junior guard Jonathan Lee anchored four NU players in double figures with 17 points. Freshman forward Quincy Ford added 13, junior guard Joel Smith collected 12 and freshman forward Reggie Spencer had 10 for the Huskies.
In the lone regular season meeting between the two teams, the two clubs exchanged leads four times in the first half and battled to a 30-all draw before the Seahawks rallied down the stretch to win for the first time in five tries at the historic venue.
The Seahawks finally got some separation six minutes in the second half, rushing out to a nine-point lead behind Smith and Rendleman. Both players had four points in the spurt and a pair of free throws by Rendleman at 16:15 capped the 11-0 run that gave the Seahawks their largest lead of the game, 41-32.
But NU chipped away at the lead and used a 7-3 mini-run to regain the lead with just under six minutes remaining. A trifecta by Lee with 5:11 on the clock gave the Huskies their last advantage of the game, 53-52, at 5:11.
With the score still tied at 55-all, Rendleman went to work again with a baseline jumper and Smith added a floater from the left baseline. Rendleman then extended UNCW's margin to seven points with a conventional three-point play, 62-55, at 2:15.
The Seahawks iced the game by sinking 10 consecutive free throws over the final five minutes and wound up going 18-for-20 in the second half.
In the opening period, the Huskies, behind Lee, bolted out to a 13-5 lead just five minutes into the contest. Lee drained three treys to account for three of NU's first four baskets and Smith's layup gave the Huskies a 13-5 lead at 15:10.
UNCW finally caught the Huskies and forged ahead, 23-17, on a Simmons triple before the Huskies rallied again behind Smith. Reserve forward Kashief Edwards made the first of two free throws with 32 seconds left in the half as the two teams went into the locker room locked in a stalemate.
GAME NOTES: NU entered the game limiting three of its previous four opponents to 56 or fewer points...NU still leads the all-time series, 6-4, but had a five-game winning streak against the Seahawks snapped...Buzz Peterson stands 11-15 lifetime vs. CAA opponents, including 3-9 away from home...UNCW had lost its previous four games at Matthews Arena by 7, 12, 23 and 10 points...UNCW stands 2-6 against current NU skipper Bill Coen...Buzz Peterson used the same starting lineup for the third consecutive contest...The Seahawks have 16 games remaining in the regular season, split evenly between home and road games...The two teams battled to a 32-all draw on the glass....UNCW scored 21 points off 14 NU turnovers...The Seahawks outscored the Huskies, 24-7, at the charity stripe.