UNCW Barrels Past Spartans, 87-73
Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications
WILMINGTON, North Carolina - UNCW raced out to a 21-point halftime lead and cruised behind 50.8 percent shooting to thump state rival UNCG, 87-73, in a pre-Christmas men's college basketball pairing Wednesday night at Trask Coliseum.
The Seahawks snapped a two-game losing streak to move to 5-6 on the season in only their fifth home appearance of the season. The Spartans dropped their second straight to fall to 2-7 early in the campaign.
UNCW placed three men in double figures for the third time this season. Senior forward Keith Rendleman racked up his fourth double double of the season and the 26th of his career with 23 points and 12 boards. Freshman guard Craig Ponder added 19 points and sophomore guard Freddie Jackson scored a career-high 14 points.
Junior guard Trevis Simpson paced three Spartans in double digits with 19 points. Derrell Armstrong added 18 and Kayel Locke had 12 to round out UNCG's double figure scorers.
In the first meeting between the two teams since 2007, the Seahawks came out firing, hitting their first five field goal attempts, and limited the Spartans to just 5-of-18 from the field over the first 10 minutes to build an insurmountable cushion.
UNCW wound up shooting a season-best 50.8 percent from the floor, while UNCG managed a sub-par 36.8 percent, including 29.4 percent (10-34) in the first half. The Seahawks also set season highs for rebounds with 48 caroms and assists with 15 dimes.
Sophomore forward Cedrick Williams hauled in a game-high 15 rebounds for the Seahawks while adding four blocks.
Trailing 49-28 at halftime, the Spartans chopped the deficit to 14 points behind Simpson before the Seahawks held on down the stretch. Simpson scored 16 of his 19 points in the second half, but the Spartans could not overcome the large deficit.
After Simpson opened the scoring with a three-pointer just 26 seconds into the contest, the Seahawks reeled off 12 consecutive points to build an early advantage. Ponder had two triples in the run and his second trifecta with 16:39 remaining in the opening half staked the Seahawks to an early 12-3 margin.
The Spartans chipped away at the deficit and narrowed the lead to 16-12 when Locke sank the second of two free throws at 12:46. However, UNCW scored seven straight points to push the lead back to 23-12, capped by a Rendleman jumper on the left elbow at 11:24.
The lead ballooned to 29-14 with 8:52 left in the first period on a conventional three-point play by Cedrick Williams and UNCW increased the cushion to 39-22 on a massive dunk by Rendleman at 4:33. Rendleman then tacked on a jumper on the left wing with eight seconds left to give the Seahawks, who shot 54.3 percent in the opening period, a 49-28 bulge at intermission.
UNCW takes a break for the Christmas holiday before returning to action on Dec. 29 with a 1 p.m. matchup at Campbell. UNCG entertains Wake Forest on Dec. 22 in a 2:30 p.m. clash with the Demon Deacons.
GAME NOTES: The Seahawks only committed one turnover in the first half ... UNCW improved to 5-0 at home this season ... UNCW is 15-19 against non-conference competition in Buzz Peterson's three years ... The Spartans own a 3-2 advantage in the five-game series ... UNCW finished 2-1 against Southern Conference opponents this season and stands 41-51 lifetime against the league.