Seahawks Rally Past Pride For Road Win
Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications
HEMPSTEAD, New York - Buzz Peterson had tried just about everything to lift his UNCW men's basketball team out of its 12-month downward spiral away from home. He never envisioned this.
After boarding a pre-dawn flight and zipping up to Long Island early Saturday, the third-year head coach and the Seahawks awoke from their 12-month slumber to clip Hofstra, 57-51, in a Colonial Athletic Association matinee at the David S. Mack Sports Complex.
The Seahawks won for the third time in four games and improved to 8-11 overall and 3-4 in the circuit. The Pride dropped its fifth consecutive contest and stands 5-15 and 2-5.
UNCW snapped a 16-game losing streak away from home that dated back to January 21 of last season. The Seahawks had lost 10 straight on the road this year before Saturday's turnaround.
"I'm extremely proud of the guys today," said third-year Head Coach Buzz Peterson. "We faced a lot of adversity today and fought through it. Chris (Dixon) might have played one of his best games and Tanner (Milson) brought us energy. We gutted it out and got a well-deserved win on the road."
Dixon, a junior guard from Montgomery, Ala., continued his torrid play of late, pouring in a game-high 22 points for the Seahawks, including 18 in the decisive second half. Milson chipped in 17 points and senior forward Keith Rendleman added 11 markers to give the Seahawks three in double digits for the eighth time this season.
Sophomore guard Taran Buie entered the game averaging 15.2 ppg, but has held in check most of the contest and wound up with 13 for Hofstra. Senior playmaker Stevie Mejia scored 11 and junior forward Stephen Nwaukoni had 10 as the Pride shot 34.7 percent.
In the 26th meeting between the two teams, the Seahawks rallied from behind in the second half as Dixon and Milson heated up. The pair combined for 29 of their 39 points after intermission to help UNCW pull out the key road win.
After fighting back early in the second period, the Seahawks moved into position for the win and the result was hanging in the balance when Dixon came up big. With his team clinging to a 48-44 advantage and 56 seconds left, the junior college transfer swished a 23-footer to push the lead to 51-44, stunning the Pride. UNCW then converted six free throws in the final 33 seconds to ice the win.
With the game tied at 37-all, Dixon hit a pair of free throws and Milson canned his fifth trifecta of the game to give the Seahawks the lead for good, 42-37. Milson then made a fadeaway jumper and Rendleman added a free throw with 2:10 remaining to extend the lead to 48-42 before Hofstra started its late push.
UNCW got off to a quick start and grabbed an 11-2 lead after dealing from long distance early. Sophomore guard Freddie Jackson opened the contest with a triple on the left wing and Milson drained back-to-back treys as UNCW opened up a nine-point cushion at 16:46.
Hofstra answered with an 18-3 run over the next 11:29, however, to gain control and take a five-point edge into the break. Nwaukoni banged in a turnaround jumper in the paint at 16:03 to start the spurt and Bowie's dunk - his only field goal of the first half - with 5:17 remaining increased the margin to 20-14.
UNCW shot just 27.3 percent in the first 20 minutes and scored only 17 points, matching its lowest output in the opening period set in an 85-47 loss at Ohio back on Nov. 16 in Athens. The Seahawks made just two field goals and scored six points over the last 16:46 of the first half to trail at intermission.
The Seahawks return home to entertain James Madison on Monday at 7 p.m., capping a stretch of three games in six days. The Pride plays four of its next five on the road,
GAME NOTES: Peterson is 18-32 in his career against CAA opposition...The Seahawks are 5-18 vs. CAA foes on the road under Peterson...UNCW snapped a four-game losing streak to the Pride in Hempstead...UNCW's last win in Hempstead came in overtime on Dec. 1, 2007,,,The Seahawks are 7-5 against the Pride in January...UNCW had 12 turnovers in the first half and 21 for the game...Rendleman was denied a double-double for the fourth straight outing...Dixon added five assists to his impressive stat line...The teams battled to a 32-all draw in rebounding...UNCW outscored Hofstra, 33-9, behind the arc....Shane Reybold became the eighth starter this season that failed to score...UNCW outscored Hofstra, 40-29, in the second half...The UNCW coaching staff wore sneakers to commemorate the NABC's Coaches Vs. Cancer initiative.