Huskies Hold Off Seahawks In Boston
Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications
BOSTON, Massachusetts - Almost one year to the day after claiming its first victory at 102-year-old Matthews Arena, the UNCW men's basketball team couldn't replicate the effort in a 68-64 Colonial Athletic Association loss to Northeastern early Saturday.
NU's senior "J-crew" of Jonathan Lee and Joel Smith combined for 33 points and the Huskies prevailed in the CAA road debut for the Seahawks.
The Huskies won their second straight and the third in four games to even their record at 7-7 on the season and moved to 2-0 in the CAA. The Seahawks dropped their third straight and fell to 5-9 and 0-2.
UNCW has now lost 14 road games in succession, dating back to a 68-66 victory at William & Mary on Jan. 21, 2012. The Seahawks, who shot 66.7 percent in the first half and 36.7 percent after intermission, are 0-8 away from Trask Coliseum this season.
Smith, a 6-4 guard, led all scorers with 23 points, including a perfect 8-of-8 at the free throw line. Sophomore guard Demetrius Pollard added 17 points off the bench and Lee contributed 10 for the Huskies, who won their first CAA home appearance.
Junior guard Tanner Milson paced the Seahawks with 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting. The Dallas, Texas, sharpshooter did not start for the first time this season, but looked comfortable shooting, connecting on his first five three-point field goal attempts and finishing 6-of-9 behind the arc.
Senior forward Keith Rendleman fought through NU' double-teaming defense for his seventh double-double of the season and the 29th of his career with 13 points and 14 rebounds. Sophomore forward Cedrick Williams contributed 12 points and seven boards in a solid road effort.
"Our focus was to be high energy on the defensive end," said third-year UNCW skipper Buzz Peterson. "Our guys did a good job and I was pleased with the way we focused on the game plan. What got us were the turnovers that led to easy baskets."
UNCW wound up with 18 turnovers, 12 in the first period, and the miscues cost the Seahawks dearly in several key situations. Still, Peterson's club was right in it until the end.
No more than six points separated the two teams and Milson's fifth triple of the game put the Seahawks in front, 48-45, with 11:41 remaining. It was the last lead of the contest for the Seahawks.
The Huskies regrouped, however, and went on an 11-2 run to forge out to their largest lead of the game, 56-50. Pollard sank a bucket on the right baseline to start an eight-point spurt and Quincy Ford's three-ball from the left corner gave UNCW a 56-50 advantage with just over eight minutes on the clock.
The Seahawks fought back and narrowed the deficit to 56-55 on another trifecta by Milson at 6:31 before Pollard and Ford made two more baskets to increase the lead to 60-55.
Milson sank his last long ball with 5.6 seconds on the clock, but Lee went to the line and made the second of two free throws to help NU close out the win.
The two teams played a tight first half with seven ties and eight lead changes. The Huskies grabbed a 34-32 lead after converting 12 Seahawk turnovers into 20 points. UNCW made its first five field goal attempts and shot a sizzling 66.7 percent in the opening 20 minutes.
After Lee's running layup tied the score at 6-all just 3:13 into the contest, Williams scored a couple baskets to give UNCW a 10-6 edge with 15:31 remaining in the first half.
UNCW still led, 24-20, at the six-minute mark before the Huskies reeled off nine unanswered points. Pollard started the run with a jumper in the paint and Smith's jumper on the right baseline with 4:12 left gave NU a 29-24 advantage, its largest lead of the half.
But the Seahawks answered with six straight points to take the lead again on Craig Ponder's trey at 2:33 before Smith canned a trey and Reggie Spencer slammed one home to push the lead back to 34-30. Freddie Jackson's steal and layup with seven seconds showing on the clock sliced the deficit to 34-32 at intermission.
UNCW fell to 13-16 in CAA road openers in losing its fifth consecutive debut on the road in the conference.
The Seahawks complete their two-game conference road trip Wednesday with a 7 p.m. tip-off at James Madison. The Huskies travel to Drexel on Tuesday for a televised date with Drexel.
GAME NOTES: Northeastern owns a 7-4 advantage in the series since joining the CAA in 2005-06...Buzz Peterson is 15-30 against the CAA in his career...Milson had his streak of 13 straight starts snapped...Graduate guard Tyree Graham did not make the trip after being suspended for violation of team rules...UNCW is 3-3 against Northeastern in January games...The Seahawks have only played four opponents from Massachusetts through the years...UNCW is now 12-5 in Jan. 5 games in its history...Redshirt freshman Craig Ponder had five assists for the Seahawks...NU outscored UNCW, 17-7, at the free throw line...Both teams have seven treys...NU was called for only nine fouls...Rendleman had three blocks on his stat line.