Herd Holds On To Escape Against Seahawks
Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications
HUNTINGTON, West Virginia - UNCW redshirt freshman Craig Ponder did everything he could, exploding for a career-high 26 points before a large group of family and friends, but Marshall rallied down the stretch to edge the Seahawks, 61-58, in a men's basketball game Saturday night at the Cam Henderson Center.
The Herd advanced to 4-0 at home and hiked its record to 5-3 with the non-conference win. The Seahawks had their two-game winning streak snapped and stand 3-4 on the year.
"I was very pleased with our effort, but no one likes to lose a close game like this," said third-year UNCW skipper Buzz Peterson. "We just didn't make plays late."
Junior guard DeAndre Kane led four players in double figures for the Herd with 16 points, while junior forward Elijah Pittman chipped in 12, junior transfer D.D. Scarver scored 12 and senior center Nigel Spikes had 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Ponder, a Bluefield native who had scored 23 points all season, was spectacular in his return to the Mountain State. He went 11-for-16 from the floor, made his only free throw attempt and dished out two assists in 33 minutes of action.
Senior forward Keith Rendleman, making his 100th career appearance and 85th start over the last four seasons, was mired in foul trouble most of the night and had his CAA-best streak of 18 straight double figure games snapped when he ended up with nine points on 4-for-6 shooting.
The Seahawks, who shot a season-high 46.4 percent, remained winless away from home in 2012-13 and have dropped 10 consecutive road contests dating back to a 68-66 win at William & Mary on Jan. 21, 2012.
After the two teams battled to a 28-all draw in the first half, no more than five points separated the two clubs the rest of the way and UNCW rallied from behind in the final minutes to inch out to a 58-57 advantage.
Trailing 57-54 following a tip-in by Spikes with 2:29 left to play, UNCW regained the lead, 58-57, when Rendleman made his only basket of the second half and Ponder converted a layup with 1:18 on the clock.
Kane, a 59 percent career free throw shooter, then made a pair of foul shots with 21 seconds left to give the Herd a 59-58 edge. However, the Seahawks turned the ball over on the next possession and Scarver sank two more free throws with 1.7 on the clock for the final margin.
A large disparity at the foul line played a role in the outcome. Rendleman was tagged with his fourth personal and went to the bench with 17:55 left in the second half and didn't return until the 4:36 mark. Marshall, meanwhile, wound up connecting on 16-of-26 at the charity stripe, while the Seahawks made 3-of-6 attempts.
At one point, the Seahawks had 14 personals and the Herd just one. UNCW finished with 26 personals to 10 for MU.
Marshall came out firing and made its first five field goal attempts to grab a 12-7 lead at the first media timeout. Scarver drained the second of back-to-back triples at 15:45 to give the Herd a three-point lead and Kane tacked on another triple out of the break to give the Herd its largest lead of the half, 15-7, with 13:45 remaining.
But Ponder and backcourt mate Chris Dixon answered with UNCW's next nine points and a driving layup by Dixon at 10:58 closed the gap to 17-16 at 10:58.
The Seahawks finally got over the hump with just under five minutes left when sophomore forward Cedrick Williams was credited with a tip-in and Ponder canned a three-ball to give UNCW a 24-22 edge at 4:25.
Luke Hager's swish from the right baseline then gave UNCW a 28-26 edge, but Kane stole the ball, raced the length of the floor and slammed it home to tie the game at intermission, 28-all.
UNCW returns home to entertain NCAA Division II Coker on Wednesday at 8 p.m. The game is part of a hoops doubleheader in conjunction with the UNCW-UNC Charlotte women's game at 5 p.m.
GAME NOTES: Marshall evened the series at 2-all with its second straight win over UNCW...DeAndre Kane is one of two NCAA Division I players with a triple double this season...Freshman C.J. Gettys (injury) and graduate student Tyree Graham (illness) did not make the trip...Saturday marked the first time in the series that the two teams have met in December...The Seahawks are now 37-32 lifetime against Conference USA opponents...The Seahawks began of stretch of three road games in four contests...In Buzz Peterson's last trip to Huntington, he directed Appalachian State to a win over Marshall in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament...Kane, second in the NCAA Division I ranks with 8.9 per game, had five helpers on the night...UNCW had a season-low 14 turnovers.