|Seahawks, Lumberjacks Collide Tonight|
UNCW Vs. Stephen F. Austin
THE TIP-OFF: The UNCW men’s basketball team wraps up its appearance in the Roundball Classic exempt event tonight when Stephen F. Austin visits Trask Coliseum for the first time. Coach Buzz Peterson’s club snapped a two-game losing streak Tuesday with an easy 72-55 victory over NAIA member Campbellsville.
THE COACHES: UNCW’s Buzz Peterson is in his 16th season with a 262-210 (.555) overall record and 37-63 (.370) mark in four seasons with the Seahawks. Stephen F. Austin’s Brad Underwood is coaching his 8th season overall with a 136-86 (.613) record overall, including a 4-2 (.667) mark in his first season with the Lumberjacks.
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 Lumberjacks include Desmond Haymon (6-3, 190, Sr., Guard), Trey Pinkney (5-9, 160, Soph., Guard), Thomas Walkup (6-4, 195, Soph., Guard), Jacob Parker (6-6, 210, Jr., Forward) and Nikola Gajic (6-5, 200, Sr., Forward).
JUMP BALL: UNCW concludes a brief two-game homestand tonight when Stephen F. Austin of the Southland Conference visits Trask Coliseum for the initial pairing between the Seahawks and Lumberjacks. Coach Buzz Peterson’s team stands .500 for the third time in the young season.
FAST BREAK: The Seahawks are playing their fourth and final game in the Roundball Classic, which guarantees UNCW four games - two home and two away - this season.
THE SERIES: UNCW and SFA are squaring off for the first time tonight and Buzz Peterson is facing Brad Underwood for the first time as well.
ABOUT THE BULLDOGS: Stephen F. Austin improved to 2-0 at home by breezing past Samford, 98-78, Tuesday night at WRJ Coliseum in Nacogdoches, Texas. The Lumberjacks shot a blistering 57.1 percent, went 22-of-27 at the free throw line and led by as many as 25 points in the second half. Four of SFA’s starters reached double figures, topped by junior forward Jacob Parker’s 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting.
TIP-INS: The Seahawks and Lumberjacks have had one common opponent this season - Marshall. UNCW dropped a 96-78 verdict to the Thundering Herd in Huntington, W.Va., while SFA knocked off MU in overtime, 80-73.
FACING THE SUN BELT: Stephen F. Austin is only the second opponent from the Southland Conference the Seahawks have faced. The Seahawks lost a second-round game of the 2008 South Padre Invitational to TAMCC.
FACT OF THE GAME: The Seahawks have struggled mightily from long distance this season, shooting just 20.4 percent behind the arc. In fact, over the last three games, UNCW is just 4-of-45 from deep.
NON-CONFERENCE STREAK: Spanning over to last season, the Seahawks have won nine consecutive non-conference games at Trask Coliseum. UNCW’s last non-conference home loss was two years ago via a 70-67 defeat to Davidson on Nov. 26, 2011.
BIG BEN: Graduate student Ben Eblen was all over the floor in Tuesday’s win over Campbellsville, scoring 13 points, grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out four assists. The Isle of Palms, S.C., product has started all eight games for UNCW and ranks third on the team in scoring (7.0 ppg) and first in assists (3.9 apg).
LONE STAR RECORD: Stephen F. Austin is the seventh opponent from the Lone Star State the Seahawks have faced. UNCW has compiled a 4-5 record in nine games against Texas opponents. Senior guard Tanner Milson hails from Cedar Hill, Texas, near Dallas.
VALUING THE BASKETBALL: The Seahawks have committed less than 10 turnovers five times already this season and are averaging just 10.4 miscues per game. UNCW averaged 14.3 turnovers one year ago.
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: UNCWsports.com; Radio: Sunny 104.5 FM-Wilmington, N.C.
NEXT UP: The Seahawks begin a new series with longtime rival East Carolina on Sunday with a 5 p.m. tip-off at Minges Coliseum in Greenville, N.C.