|Surging Seahawks Tackle Hill(Toppers)|
UNCW Vs. Western Kentucky
THE TIP-OFF: The UNCW men’s basketball team continues its busy week Thursday with their first trip to Bowling Green, Ky., to battle Western Kentucky’s Hilltoppers at historic E.A. Diddle Arena. The game is the first of four contests for UNCW in the Roundball Classic, an exempt tournament.
THE COACHES: UNCW’s Buzz Peterson is in his 16th season with a 261-208 (.557) overall record and 36-61 (.371) mark in four seasons with the Seahawks. Western Kentucky’s Ray Harper is coaching his 15th season overall with a 374-88 (.809) record overall, including a 32-25 (.547) mark in two seasons with the Hilltoppers.
THE PLAYERS: The probable starters for the Seahawks include Ben Eblen (6-1, 185, Gr., Guard), Addison Spruill (6-4, 225, Jr., Guard), Chris Dixon (6-0, 190, Sr., Guard), Shane Reybold (6-8, 238, Sr., Forward) and Cedrick Williams (6-9, 225, Jr., Forward). The probable starters for the Hilltoppers includes Payton Husley (6-5, 205, Fr., Guard), Caden Dickerson (6-5, 205, R-Sr., Guard), T.J. Price (6-4, 215, Jr., Guard), Akeksej Rostov (6-10, 235, Soph., Center) and George Fant (6-6, 245, Jr., Forward).
JUMP BALL: After a brief one-day stopover in Wilmington, the Seahawks head back on the road tonight to play Western Kentucky for the first time. It will be the Seahawks’ first appearance at historic E.A. Diddle Arena in Bowling Green.
FAST BREAK: The Seahawks are scheduled to take on Western Kentucky, Marshall, Campbellsville and Stephen F. Austin in the Roundball Classic, an exempt tournament that provides two road games and two home games for Coach Buzz Peterson’s squad.
THE SERIES: UNCW and WKU are squaring off for the first time tonight and Buzz Peterson is facing Ray Harper for the first time as well.
ABOUT THE BULLDOGS: Junior guard T.J. Price pumped in 18 points and junior forward George Fant added 17 as WKU trimmed former Ohio Valley Conference rival East Tennessee State, 57-50, last Saturday in Bowling Green. WKU never trailed in the contest as the Hilltoppers picked up their first win of the season in the home opener
TIP-INS: Western Kentucky will be the fourth opponent from the Bluegrass State the Seahawks have faced through the years. UNCW has fashioned a 3-3 record against Eastern Kentucky, Morehead State and Murray State. In their last game against an opponent from Kentucky, the Seahawks edged Morehead State, 60-58, on Nov. 18, 2010, in a nailbiter at Trask Coliseum. It was the third game of Buzz Peterson’s first season at UNCW.
FACING THE SUN BELT: The Seahawks are 13-12 against Sun Belt Conference schools through the years, playing six of the league’s 10 members. UNCW skipper Buzz Peterson owns a 3-4 record against teams from the Sun Belt Conference, with all seven contests coming against former CAA member Georgia State.
FACT OF THE GAME: The Seahawks have won three straight games for the first time since sweeping four consecutive games from Dec. 30, 2011, to Jan. 7, 2012.
WALK-ON WONDER: Shane Reybold spent his first two seasons as a walk-on before earning a scholarship last year. This season, he’s a walk-on again, but still contributing. The Scaggsville, Md., product has started three of the five games and is averaging 25.2 minutes. Reybold has scored 4, 4, 8, 9 and 5 points this season.
SUDDEN IMPACT: Newcomers Ben Eblen and Addison Spruill have had an immediate impact on the team, contributing 26.1 percent of the offense (91-of-348 points) and making a combined nine starts.
HOW TO CATCH THE GAME: If you can’t make it to the game, there are several ways to follow the action. Twitter: @UNCWmenshoops; Live Stats: UNCWsports.com; Internet: WKUSports.com-PPV; Radio: Sunny 104.5 FM-Wilmington, N.C.
NEXT UP: The Seahawks conclude their second three-game road trip of the early season Saturday with a Noon tip-off against Marshall at the Cam Henderson Center in Huntington, W.Va.