UNCW Vs. Marshall
Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013 – Noon
Cam Henderson Center (9,043) – Huntington, W.Va.

THE TIP-OFF: The UNCW men’s basketball team concludes a road-heavy first part of the schedule today by playing Marshall to wrap up a stretch of six road appearances in the first seven outings. The Seahawks are coming off a 73-58 loss at Western Kentucky on Thursday and return home for four of their next five contests.

THE COACHES: UNCW’s Buzz Peterson is in his 16th season with a 261-209 (.557) overall record and 36-62 (.371) mark in four seasons with the Seahawks. Marshall’s Tom Herrion is coaching his ninth season overall with a 135-85 (.627) record overall, including a 58-47 (.552) mark in three seasons with the Thundering Herd.

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 Herd includes Kareem Canty (6-1, 180, Fr., Guard), DeVince Boykins (6-4, 211, Soph., Guard), Ryan Taylor (6-5, 227, Fr., Forward), Elijah Pittman (6-9, 219, Sr., Forward) and Cheikh Sane (6-9, 217, Jr., Forward).

JUMP BALL: The UNCW men’s basketball team plays again in less than 48 hours after falling, 73-58, at Western Kentucky Thursday night in Bowling Green. Coach Buzz Peterson’s club had its three-game winning streak snapped by the Hilltoppers at historic E.A. Diddle Arena.

FAST BREAK: The Seahawks are playing the second game in the four-game Roundball Classic, which guarantees UNCW four games - two home and two away - this season. Following today’s outing, the Seahawks return home to entertain Campbellsville (Ky.) and Stephen F. Austin to wrap up the exempt event.

THE SERIES: The series is tied at 2-all after Marshall won for the second straight time last season with a narrow 61-58 verdict in Huntington. The two teams are playing for the third straight year. UNCW won the first two meetings by a combined 10 points during the 2004 and 2005 seasons before Marshall turned the tables with a 69-64 verdict on Nov. 22, 2011, and last year’s three-point decision on Dec. 1, 2012.

ABOUT THE HERD: Stephen F. Austin outscored Marshall in overtime, 13-6, to pull out an 80-73 overtime win over the Herd on Thursday night at the Cam Henderson Center in Huntington, W.Va. The Lumberjacks dealt the Herd its second straight overtime loss behind Jacob Parker’s 31 points and 11 rebounds.

LAST MATCHUP: Marshall overcame a career-high 26-point performance by UNCW’s Craig Ponder to slip past the Seahawks, 61-58, in a wild finish at the Cam Henderson Center. The Thundering Herd shot just 36.4 percent from the field, but forced three UNCW turnovers in the final three possessions to pull out the victory. Ponder, playing before family and friends, made 11-of-16 shots and added two assists and two steals for the Seahawks, who shot 46.4 percent from the field.

FACING CONFERENCE USA:    The Seahawks have played nine of the 16 schools in Conference USA and compiled a 62-70 record against the group. Buzz Peterson owns an 17-11 record against eight schools from Conference USA during his coaching career.

FACT OF THE GAME:  The Seahawks are making 70.4 percent at the charity stripe this season, but, more importantly, have connected on 31-of-38 at the charity stripe in the last five minutes of the game.

HOMECOMING FOR CRAIG: Redshirt sophomore guard Craig Ponder is hoping to repeat his homecoming performance from one year ago. The Bluefield, W.Va., product poured in a careeer-high 26 points on 11-of-16 shooting in UNCW’s 61-58 loss to the Herd last December. He’s off to a slow start this season, though, connecting on just 4-of-23 (.174) field goal attempts and averaging 1.5 ppg through six contests.

FREE THROW SPECIALISTS: Seven Seahawks are hitting better than 70 percent at the free throw line this season. Senior guard Chris Dixon (.917 on 11-of-12) and Cedrick Williams (.821 on 23-of-28) lead the group.

EIGHT IS ENOUGH: Eight players are back who played against Marshall last year and the group scored 48 of UNCW’s 58 points, topped by Craig Ponder’s 26-point outburst. Two players return for the Herds, Elijah Pttman and DaVince Boykins, and the pair combined for 13 of MU’s 61 markers in the 61-58 decision.

DEJA VU: The Seahawks have already faced the Herd this season...sort of. Former Marshall standout DeAndre Kane now plays at Iowa State and the talented guard had 13 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists in ISU’s win over the Seahawks on Nov. 10 in Ames.

IMPACT PLAYERS: Newcomers Ben Eblen and Addison Spruill have had an immediate impact on the team, contributing 26.6 percent of the offense (108-of-348 points) and making a combined 11 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: http://www.herdzone.com/allaccess/; Radio: Sunny 104.5 FM-Wilmington, N.C.

NEXT UP: The Seahawks return to Trask Coliseum to open a two-game homestand with NAIA member Campbellsville and former basketball standout Keith Adkins Tuesday at 7 p.m. UNCW then wraps up the Roundball Classic on Friday with a first-ever clash against Stephen F. Austin at 7 p.m.