|Seahawks, Tribe Renew Longtime Rivalry|
UNCW Vs. William & Mary
Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014 – 7 p.m.
Trask Coliseum (5,100) – Wilmington, N.C.
THE TIP-OFF: UNCW returns home briefly tonight to entertain William & Mary in the first of two pairings between the teams over the final 21 days of the regular season. The Seahawks are seeking to snap a 12-game losing streak that began in early December and has now carried over into February.
THE COACHES: UNCW’s Buzz Peterson is in his 16th season with a 264-223 (.542) overall record, including a 39-76 (.339) mark in four seasons with the Seahawks. The College of William & Mary’s Tony Shaver owns a 487-318 (.605) record in 28 years as a head coach and is 129-197 (.396) in 11 seasons with the Tribe.
THE PLAYERS: The probable starters for the Seahawks include Ben Eblen (6-1, 185, Gr., Guard), Addison Spruill (6-4, 225, Jr., 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 Tribe are Terry Tarpey (6-5, 200, Soph., Guard), Julian Boatner (6-2, 185, Sr., Guard), Marcus Thornton (6-4, 185, Jr., Guard), Tim Rusthoven (6-9, 235, Sr., Forward) and Kyle Gaillard (6-8, 220, R-Sr., Forward).
HOME SWEET HOME: UNCW returns to Trask Coliseum tonight hoping to find the winning column after a dry spell that has moved into its third month. With a 12-game losing streak, the Seahawks have not won since defeating Campbell back on Dec. 3.
DREXEL LEFTOVERS: The Seahawks trailed by one point with just over eight minutes remaining in the game...Junior guard Addison Spruill paced UNCW with 22 points...Junior forward Cedrick Williams went 1-of-12 from the floor and finished with six points and four rebounds...UNCW held Drexel to just two offensive rebounds...The Dragons went 16-of-17 at the free throw line...The Seahawks outrebounded the Dragons by a 32-30 margin.
TOUGH STRETCH: The Seahawks are in the midst of a stretch of eight games in 17 days and 10 games in 26 days. The Seahawks face the top two scorers in the conference in the next two games in W&M’s Marcus Thornton (19.8 ppg) and Hofstra’s Zeke Upshaw (19.0 ppg).
THE SERIES: The Seahawks and Tribe are meeting for the 62nd time tonight and 31st time in Wilmington. UNCW leads the all-time series by a 40-21 margin. W&M has won the last two games by a total of seven points and the two teams have split the last 10 meetings.
ABOUT THE DRAGONS: William & Mary made a season-high 13 three-pointers and converted its fifth-best single game percentage from deep to nip James Madison, 81-79, on Sunday at the JMU Convocation Center in Harrisonburg, Va. Led by junior guard Marcus Thornton’s game-best 26 points, including 6-of-9 behind the arc, the Tribe claimed its sixth road victory of the season heading into tonight’s matchup with the Seahawks.
LAST MATCHUP: In the last matchup between UNCW and W&M on Feb. 27, 2013, in Wilmington, N.C, junior forward Tim Rusthoven’s free throw with 0.4 seconds left spoiled Senior Night festivities for UNCW as the Tribe swept the regular season series with a 73-72 decision at Trask Coliseum. Rusthoven and two other players - Marcus Thornton and Brandon Britt - had 17 points apiece to lead the Tribe, which squandered a six-point lead with 17 seconds remaining. Keith Rendleman had 24 points and 11 rebounds in his final home appearance for the Seahawks, who led 39-34 at halftime and shot 53.8 percent on the night.
BUZZ VS. W&M: UNCW’s Buzz Peterson is facing William & Mary for the seventh time in his 16 seasons as a head coach. He owns a 4-2 record against the Tribe after losing to the Virginia club twice last season.
SEAHAWKS VS. VIRGINIA: The Seahawks have won 46.9 percent of their games (170-192) against 16 teams from the state of Virginia through the years. UNCW is 1-2 against Virginia teams this season, defeating Liberty and losing to Old Dominion and James Madison.
LONG RANGE BOMBERS: The Tribe is the top three-point shooting club in the CAA with a 40.2 percent clip. Individually, Julian Boatner leads the loop in three-point percentage (.443) and Marcus Thornton ranks first in three-point field goals per game (3.2).
SPRINGY SPRUILL: Junior guard Addison Spruill had a solid weekend in UNCW’s two-game swing to Delaware and Drexel. He scored16 points off the bench in UNCW’s 66-65 loss to the Blue Hens and then led the Seahawks with 22 points against the Dragons.
FEBRUARY FIGURING: The Seahawks are 0-2 this month after losing both games to Delaware and Drexel. Buzz Peterson stands 6-21 in February games in his career at UNCW and 69-57 overall as a head coach.
STEALING AWAY: The Seahawks are tied with William & Mary for second in the conference in steals with 5.9 per game.
TUMULTUOUS TAILSPIN: During the 12-game tailspin, the Seahawks have fallen by 5, 12, 14, 33, 5, 11, 7, 5 , 16, 5, 1 and 11 points for an average of 11.4 ppg (total of 125 points). UNCW has not won a game in 64 days since a 69-50 smashing of Campbell on Dec. 3 at Trask Coliseum.
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 heads back on the road for its next game when the Seahawks travel to Hempstead, N.Y., Saturday for a 7 p.m. test at Hofstra.