WILMINGTON, North Carolina - Senior forward Keith Rendleman's 23 points and 15 rebounds pushed UNCW past Hampton, 61-60, to help the Seahawks win the Wilmington Division of the Nations of Coaches Classic Sunday at Trask Coliseum.
The Seahawks, who remained perfect at home with a 3-0 mark, evened their record at 3-3. The Pirates. 0-5, dropped their fifth straight game and remain winless on the year after surrendering a slim one-point lead with 1:37 remaining in the game.
UNCW was led offensively by Rendleman's double-double, the 24th of his career and second of the season. Sophomore guard Freddie Jackson came through late when he contributed seven of his 12 points in the second half.
The Pirates followed the lead of senior center David Bruce, who totaled 13 points before fouling out in the second half. Hampton also had a huge contribution from its bench, which outscored the Seahawks' bench, 23-9.
"We were very fortunate to get this win against a very scrappy Hampton team," said Buzz Peterson, UNCW's third-year skipper. "Our kids never gave up. They kept working hard and good things happened at the end."
In the first meeting between the two programs since the 1973-74 season, Hampton maintained a slight advantage before a layup by Jackson and two free throws from Rendleman at the 12-minute mark gave the Seahawks their first lead of the second half at 43-42.
The Pirates continued to battle back as senior guard Jasper Williams drained his third three-pointer of the game to extend their lead to 49-45 with 8:16 remaining in the game.
The Seahawks rallied again as junior forward Shane Reybold put in his only basket of the game and Jackson added a fast break layup to give the Seahawks a 61-69 edge with 62 seconds on the clock.
It was the eighth and final lead change as the Seahawk defense dug in and did not allow Hampton playmaker Deron Powers to get off a shot before the buzzer sounded.
In the opening half, behind transition baskets by Jackson and Rendleman, the Seahawks bolted out to a 5-0 lead just 1:53 into the contest.
The lead grew to 10-4 following a three-pointer by Chris Dixon at the 16-minute mark.
It was the last field goal for the Seahawks in the first half. Hampton fashioned a 10-0 run over the next 7:14 to take a 17-10 lead on a jumper by Bruce/
UNCW climbed back into the game and drew even at 22-all on a three-pointer from Jackson, but HU scored seven of the final 10 points of the half and carry a 29-25 lead into the intermission off a buzzer-beating three by Ramon Mercado.
GAME NOTES: It was only the fourth meeting all-time between UNCW and Hampton ... The Seahawks won the last meeting between these two teams, 86-76, back in the 1973-74 season ... UNCW now holds a 3-1 record against Hampton ... The Seahawks used their fifth starting lineup in six games this year ... Rendleman extended his streak of scoring in double figures to 18 games, the longest active string int the CAA ... UNCW set season-highs for free throws made (21) and attempted (39) ... The game featured five ties and eight lead changes.