|Cougars Visit Trask Coliseum As CAA Foe|
UNCW “Seahawks” (8-21, 2-12) Vs. College of Charleston “Cougars” (14-14, 6-7)
THE TIP-OFF: It’s back home for the UNCW men’s basketball team as the Seahawks wrap up the regular season with a pair of games at Trask Coliseum against the College of Charleston and CAA-leader Delaware. Tonight is CofC’s first appearance at Trask Coliseum in seven seasons.
THE COACHES: UNCW’s Buzz Peterson is in his 16th season with a 266-227 (.539) overall record, including a 41-80 (.3339) mark in four seasons with the Seahawks. The College of Charleston’s Doug Wojcik is 178-117 (.603) overall in his ninth season as a head coach and 38-25 (.603) in two seasons at the College of Charleston.
THE PLAYERS: The probable starters for the Seahawks include Chris Dixon (6-0, 190, Sr., Guard), Tanner Milson (6-2, 190, Sr., Guard), Freddie Jackson (6-4, 185, Jr., Guard), Shane Reybold (6-8, 238, Sr., Forward) and Cedrick Williams (6-9, 225, Jr., Forward). The probable starters for the Cougars are Nori Johnson (6-5, 209, Sr., Guard), Anthony Stitt (6-1, 180, Jr., Guard), Willis Hall (6-6, 235, Sr., Forward), Anthony Thomas (6-7, 207, Sr., Forward) and Adjehi Baru (6-9, 225, Jr., Forward).
THE HOMESTRETCH: UNCW opens a two-game homestand to wrap up the 2013-14 regular season tonight when conference newcomer College of Charleston pays a visit to Trask Coliseum. The Seahawks will also play Delaware next week before heading up to Baltimore for the CAA Tournament.
SCOUTING THE COUGARS: The College of Charleston evened its record with an impressive 87-54 throttling of visiting William & Mary Monday night at TD Arena in Charleston. The Cougars jumped out to a 36-20 lead at halftime and wound up shooting a torrid 64.2 percent on the night to avenge an earlier loss to the Tribe. Senior forward Willis Hall paced four players in double figures for CofC with 21 points and redshirt freshman Canyon Barry contributed 17 points off the bench on 6-of-12 shooting for the Cougars.
THE SERIES: The College of Charleston leads the all-time series, 10-4, and has won six of the last seven matchups. The two regional rivals met for the first time since Dec. 19, 2008, on Jan. 22 when the Cougars claimed a 75-70 win in Charleston.
LAST MATCHUP: In the last game between the two teams, senior guard Nori Johnson drained 7-of-8 from deep en route to a game-high 23 points to lift the College of Charleston to a 75-70 victory over UNCW in the first CAA game between the two regional rivals on Jan. 22, 2014, at TD Arena. Johnson scored 15 of his points in the first half for the Cougars, who held off the Seahawks in the second half. Cedrick Williams scored 22 points and Chris Dixon collected 21 points for the Seahawks, who shot 60 percent in the second half.
LAST MATCHUP IN TRASK: In the last game between the two teams at Trask Coliseum on Nov. 10, 2007, senior guard Daniel Fountain exploded for 27 points, including 6-of-9 behind the arc, as UNCW outlasted the College of Charleston, 98-91, in overtime. The Seahawks outscored the Cougars, 15-8, in the extra period and rode the play of Fountain and center Vladimir Kuljanin to snap CofC’s four-game winning streak against the Seahawks. Kuljanin wound up with 25 points and 10 rebounds on 11-of-14 shooting and the Seahawks shot 51.4 percent from the floor in the thrilling win. Rookie Andrew Goudelock poured in 27 points off the bench and Jermaine Johnson had 19 for CofC, which attempted just seven free throws in the contest.
BUZZ VS. CofC: Buzz Peterson is facing the College of Charleston for the ninth time in his career and stands 2-6 against the Cougars. He is battling CofC for just the second time as UNCW’s coach tonight.
SEAHAWKS VS. SOUTH CAROLINA FOES: The College of Charleston is one of two opponents this season from South Carolina. The Seahawks own a 45-36 record against 10 teams from the state of South Carolina through the years.
WARMING UP WITH THE TRIBE: Both of tonight’s teams are coming off games against William & Mary, but with different results. The Tribe drained 16-of-30 three-pointers in a 93-70 victory over UNCW on Monday at Kaplan Arena. CofC turned the tables on the Cougars by shooting 64.2 percent and making 14-of-22 triples in an 87-54 rout Wednesday in Charleston.
GRAND CANYON: Tonight will be the first time the Seahawks have faced CofC reserve guard Canyon Barry, who missed the first matchup between the two teams in Charleston. Barry has started 12 of the 20 appearances he’s made this season, averaging 23.7 minutes per contest.
COUGAR ROAD TUMBLE: The Cougars are 4-6 away from home and 1-5 in CAA road games this season. CofC has dropped four straight conference road games since taking down Northeastern, 58-49, on Jan. 12 in Boston for their lone league road victory.
INSTANT OFFENSE: Walk-on guard Marcus Graham of UNCW made the most of his six minutes in Monday’s loss at W&M. The senior guard scored eight points and had a pair of highlight reel slams in the closing minutes of the 93-70 loss to the Tribe.
COMMON FOES: The two teams had two common non-conference opponents this season: UNC Asheville and Old Dominion. UNCW dropped both games to the Bulldogs and Monarchs, while CofC lost to UNCA and stunned ODU in Norfolk.
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; Video: PPV via HawkVison on UNCWsports.com: Radio: Sunny 104.5 FM-Wilmington, N.C.
NEXT UP: The Seahawks wrap up the regular season on Wednesday, Feb. 26, when first-place Delaware comes rolling into Trask Coliseum. It will be the final home appearance for seniors Zack Allen, Chris Dixon, Ben Eblen, Marcus Graham, Tanner Milson and Shane Reybold.