|Seahawks Open CAA Slate With Dukes|
UNCW Vs. James Madison
THE TIP-OFF: UNCW looks to shake a four-game losing skid and snap a five-game losing streak in Colonial Athletic Association openers tonight when defending conference champion James Madison visits Trask Coliseum to ring in the New Year.
THE COACHES: UNCW’s Buzz Peterson is in his 16th season with a 264-215 (.551) overall record and 39-68 (.364) mark in four seasons with the Seahawks. James Madison’s Matt Brady is in his 10th season overall with a 166-141 (.540) career record and is coaching his sixth season at JMU with a 93-91 (.505) mark in Harrisonburg, Va.
THE PLAYERS: The probable starters for the Seahawks include Ben Eblen (6-1, 185, Gr., Guard), Addison Spruill (6-4, 225, Jr., Guard), Tanner Milson (6-2, 190, Sr., Guard), Dylan Sherwood (6-9, 215, R-Soph., Forward) and Cedrick Williams (6-9, 225, Jr., Forward). The probable starters for the Dukes includes Ron Curry (6-4, 190, Soph., Guard), Charles Cooke (6-6, 190, Soph., Guard), Andrey Semenov (6-7, 200, Gr., Forward), Taylor Bessick (6-9, 230, Soph., Forward) and Ivan Lukic (6-8, 220, Fr., Forward).
JUMP BALL: UNCW and James Madison open the 18-game CAA schedule at Trask Coliseum. The Seahawks and Dukes are meeting in the conference opener for the fourth time and JMU has swept the first three matchups to christen the new league season. It’s also the midway point in the campaign for Coach Buzz Peterson’s club.
FOUR SQUARE: The Seahawks have dropped four consecutive games for the first time this season and the first time since ending the 2012-13 campaign with four consecutive losses. In UNCW’s last four outings - all losses - the Seahawks have averaged 60.2 ppg, while allowing 76.2 ppg. Also, UNCW has shot 38.2 pct. and opponents have connected on 50.0 pct.
HELLO CAA: UNCW stands 12-17 overall in CAA debuts, including 5-8 at home and 7-9 on the road. UNCW has lost five straight CAA openers, last winning with an 87-83 overtime decision over Hofstra on Dec. 1, 2007. The Seahawks are 17-12 lifetime in conference openers at Trask Coliseum and have split their last 10 CAA debuts at home.
THE SERIES: The Seahawks own a slim 33-31 edge in the 64-game series with the Dukes. UNCW won the inaugural game on Dec. 16, 1979, and took 14 straight from Jan. 20, 2001, to Jan. 10, 2008. JMU, however, has claimed seven of the last 10 meetings between the two clubs.
ABOUT THE BULLDOGS: James Madison won for the third time in four tries Monday with a 73-68 victory over visiting Ball State at the JMU Convocation Center. Sophomore guards Charles Cooke and Ron Curry combined with graduate forward Andrey Semenov for 53 points as JMU won consecutive games for the first time this season.
LAST MATCHUP BETWEEN UNCW-JMU: Senior guard Devon Moore scored 15 of his team-high 19 points in the second half to spark James Madison past UNCW, 63-56, on Jan. 28, 2013, at Trask Coliseum. The Dukes completed a sweep of the regular season series by holding UNCW to 39.6 percent shooting and coming up with 10 steals. Senior forward Keith Rendleman of UNCW topped all scorers with 20 points and added 13 rebounds, three assists, four blocks and two steals.
LAST JMU GAME IN WILMINGTON: In the last game between the two teams at Trask Coliseum on Jan. 28, 2013, Devon Moore collected a team-high 19 points to power James Madison past UNCW, 63-56. The Dukes completed a sweep of the regular season series by holding UNCW to 39.6 percent shooting and coming up with 10 steals. JMU made its final eight free throws down the stretch to nail down the road win.
BUZZ VS. JMU: UNCW’s Buzz Peterson is facing James Madison for the sixth time tonight in his 16 seasons as a head coach. He has dropped four of five games to the Harrisonburg, Va., club. In addition, Peterson is 1-4 against JMU’s Matt Brady, with his lone victory coming in the 2012 CAA Tournament. He has never beaten Brady during the regular season.
SEMENOV SIGHTING: Graduate forward Andrey Semenov of JMU enjoyed a breakout game in his rookie season at Trask Coliseum on Jan. 31, 2009. The versatile Duke fired in 23 of his game-high 25 points in the second half as JMU overcame a 41-32 halftime deficit to stun UNCW, 79-73, in the annual Homecoming Game. Sparked by Semenov, the Dukes shoot 51.7 percent in the second half to rally from an early 15-point deficit and sweep the regular season series from the Seahawks.
HAIL TO THE GRADS: Tonight’s competitors feature players who have already earned their degrees. UNCW’s Ben Eblen completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Consumer Science at the University of Alabama last spring. JMU’s Audrey Semenov received his Bachelor’s Degree in International Business from JMU last year.
DEEP TROUBLE: Tonight’s game features a pair of teams struggling from long range. The Seahawks have connected on just 55-of-236 for 23.3 percent from deep, while the Dukes are connecting on 71-of-256 for 27.7 percent.
REYBOLD AILING: Senior forward Shane Reybold is out indefinitely with a stress fracture in his left foot. The hustling forward from Scaggsville, Md., has started 13-of-15 games and averaged 5.9 points and 6.0 rebounds for the Seahawks in 2013-14.
DOUBLE DIGIT DOINGS: Eleven of UNCW’s 15 games have been decided by double figures. The Seahawks have won four games by double digits (Wingate, Liberty, Campellsville, Campbell) and lost seven games by double figures (Iowa, Iowa State, Western Kentucky, Marshall, Old Dominion, UNC Asheville, North Carolina).
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: HawkVision via UNCWsports.com; Radio: Sunny 104.5 FM-Wilmington, N.C.
NEXT UP: UNCW hits the road for its next two conference tests, traveling to Northeastern on Wednesday (Jan. 8) and Towson (Jan. 11) next week. The Seahawks play seven games this month, four at home and three on the road.