Blue Hens Hold Off UNCW Seahawks, 71-56

NEWARK, Dela. – Devon Saddler, Jamelle Hagins and Jarvis Threatt combined for 56 points to match UNCW’s total in a 71-56 Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball victory Saturday at the Bob Carpenter Center.

The Blue Hens won their third straight game to maintain third place in the CAA standings at 6-3 while evening their overall record at 11-11. The Seahawks lost their second in a row and stand 8-13 and 3-6.

UNCW Seahawks men's basketball

It was UD’s fourth straight win over UNCW, which is tackling a stretch of three games in five days. The Seahawks now make the 60-mile trek to Towson to battle the Tigers Monday night at the Towson Center.

Saddler, a junior guard, led all scorers with 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the floor and 5-of-6 at the free throw line. Hagins, a senior forward, added 20 points and 11 rebounds and Threatt chipped in 15 points for the Blue Hens, who shot 46.3 percent on the day but went 0-fo-11 behind the arc.

Redshirt freshman Craig Ponder became the seventh player to lead UNCW in scoring off the bench this season with 14 points. Senior forward Keith Rendleman, the team’s leading scorer and rebounder at 15.9 ppg and 10.9 rpg, finished with 11 points and five rebounds before fouling out with one minute remaining.

Rendleman’s 11 points moved him past T.J. Carter into No. 6 on UNCW’s all-time scoring list with 1,333 points in 114 career appearances. It was his 68th career game in double figures.

“Delaware did a great job on Keith,” said Buzz Peterson, UNCW’s third-year coach. “They have so many weapons with Saddler on the outside and Hagins on the inside. They were aggressive and we could not make them pay at the other end. Craig Ponder was a bright spot…he was aggressive and attacked the basket.”

The Blue Hens, 6-3 at home this season, carved out a 33-24 halftime advantage in the 2 p.m. start and led by as many as 15 points down the stretch. UNCW could get no closer than eight points in the final 20 minutes.

UD led by 15 points midway through the final period when senior forward Josh Brinkley sank two free throws at 9:06 for a 53-38 margin.

UNCW made several late runs and closed within, 64-56, when Chris Dixon and Ponder converted back-to-back layups with 2:05 remaining. However, the Blue Hens scored the final seven points of the game to close out the win in the first of two meetings between the two teams this month.

UD scored the first six points of the contest before UNCW regrouped with seven unanswered points. A Dixon layup with 14:13 remaining in the first half gave the Seahawks their last lead of the game, 9-8.

The Blue Hens scored 13 of the next 15 points to build a 21-11 cushion. Saddler had six points in the spurt and connected on a pair of free throws with just under eight minutes on the clock to extend UD’s lead to 10 points.

UD forged out to its largest lead of the half, 27-14, on a baby hook by Hagins with 2:48 left before the Seahawks sliced the lead to 27-20 with six straight points. But Hagins scored twice in the last 40 seconds to give the Blue Hens a nine-point lead at intermission.

The Seahawks and Tigers collide at 7 p.m. Monday in their final meeting at the Towson Center before TU’s christens a new arena next season. The Blue Hens entertain the Tigers on Wednesday (Feb. 6) at 7 p.m. in their next outing.

GAME NOTES: UNCW still owns a 16-7 advantage in the 23-game series…The Blue Hens have won three of the last five meetings…UNCW’s last win at the Bob came on Jan. 5, 2006, with a 71-58 decision…The Seahawks have lost 17 of their last 18 road games…UNCW is 5-5 against UD’s Monte Ross since he took over the Blue Hens in 2006-07…The two teams play again on Feb. 23 in Wilmington…UNCW owns a 5-3 record in afternoon games this season…Rendleman had two points and no rebounds in the first half…UD led UNCW, 41-29, on the glass…UNCW’s reserves contributed 29 points in the loss…The Blue Hens went 21-of-26 at the charity stripe…The Seahawks had five assists and 13 turnovers.

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