|Seahawks Tame Visiting Tigers, 72-55|
WILMINGTON, North Carolina – UNCW held NAIA member Campbellsville to 34.9 percent shooting and a season-low scoring total for opponents in a convincing 72-55 victory over the undermanned Tigers Tuesday night at Trask Coliseum.
The Seahawks snapped a two-game losing streak to even their record at 4-4 on the season, while the Tigers dipped to 2-3. It was the first meeting between the two teams and the ninth straight non-conference home win for the Seahawks.
CU’s scoring output represented the lowest total put up against the Seahawks this season, six points below Wingate’s total in an 80-61 verdict in the home opener back on Nov. 16.
Junior forward Cedrick Williams led the Seahawks in scoring for the fifth time in eight games with 15 points. Playmaker Ben Eblen chipped in 13 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Luke Hager added a career-high 12 rebounds as UNCW built a commanding 52-35 advantage on the glass.
Senior center Jordan Myers had 13 points and freshman forward Elliott Young netted 10 points off the bench for CU.
“I was very concerned about Campbellsville,” said UNCW Head Coach Buzz Peterson. “Our guys did a good job of playing with a lot of energy. Our defense and rebounding won the game for us. When the ball’s not falling, we have to create something through running and jumping activities.”
UNCW bolted out to a 38-22 advantage at intermission and cruised down the stretch to spoil the homecoming of CU Head Coach Keith Adkins, who played for the Seahawks in the early 1990’s. Adkins is in his 14th season at the Kentucky school.
“It was a dream come true to just come back and coach a game,” said Adkins. “Two of our better players went out early with injuries and that tightened up our rotation for the rest of the game. The difference in the game was depth and we just didn’t have the horses.”
The Tigers played without starting forward Eric Gaines and starting point guard DeShawn Dockery the majority of the contest after the pair was sidelined early with injuries.
The Seahawks stretched their margin to 55-37 when Tanner Milson hit a rainbow from the left side to extend the lead to 18 points with just over 12 minutes remaining in the contest.
UNCW then used a 10-2 run to put the game away for good. Reserve guard Craig Ponder sank a pair of free throws and the lead swelled to 69-45 - the largest of the game - with three minutes left to play.
UNCW scored the first four points before Campbellsville answered with seven points of its own to take a 7-4 advantage. A triple by Myers on the left wing put the Tigers on top, 7-4, at the 17:06 mark.
CU still led 9-8 before Williams heated up. The junior from Murfreesboro, Tenn., reeled off five consecutive points, capped by his spin move in the paint that gave the Seahawks a 13-9 lead at 13:13. The string was part of an 11-2 spurt that helped the Seahawks forge ahead, 19-11, with just under eight minutes remaining.
UNCW then closed out half by outscoring the Tigers, 15-5, over the final five minutes of the period to carry a 38-22 cushion into the break. Williams scored 11 points as seven Seahawks found the scoring column in the opening 20 minutes.
GAME NOTES: Buzz Peterson improved to 16-1 against non-Division I opponents…The Seahawks went a frosty 1-of-22 from three-point range…UNCW had just seven turnovers in the game…UNCW shot 38.2 percent from the floor…Eblen and junior guard Addison Spruill shared assist honors with four dimes apiece…Twelve players saw action for the Seahawks…Williams had three blocks on his stat line…The Seahawks scored 21 second-chance points and had 17 points off turnovers…UNCW pulled down 18 offensive rebounds…The Seahawks are 1-1 against Kentucky schools this year…UNCW plays four of its next five games at home.