TOWSON, MD Feb. 3, 2013 – The UNCW men’s basketball team puts the finishing touches on a two-game swing through the wintry mid-Atlantic region Monday night when the Seahawks battle Towson in the final pairing between the two teams at the Towson Center.
The Tigers, 11-12 overall and 6-4 in the Colonial Athletic Association, are moving next door to their new 5,200-seat facility next season and officially christen the stone-encased Towson Arena on Aug. 1, 2013, before playing Navy in the first game later in the fall.
UNCW, meanwhile, carries an 8-13 record into the 7 p.m. contest and will try to improve on its 3-6 ledger in the CAA following a 71-56 defeat last Saturday at Delaware.
The UNCW-TU clash can be heard locally on Sunny 104.5 FM or via the internet on www.1045SunnyFM.com<http://www.1045sunnyfm.com/>. Live Twitter updates can be accessed @uncwmenshoops and live stats will be available on UNCWsports.com.
“We have a tough stretch here, so it’s important to stay positive and keep working on the things we need to improve,” said Buzz Peterson, who is completing his third season with the Seahawks. UNCW has just nine games remaining in the campaign, five at home and four on the road.
“Towson jumped out to a quick start in the first game and we spent a lot of energy fighting to get back into the game. One of the keys will be to bring a lot of energy into the game early and not fall behind like we did in early January.”
It’s been just over a month since the two teams collided at Trask Coliseum. The Seahawks have gone 3-5 since that contest and Towson has fashioned a 5-4 record in that span. One thing that has remained consistent, though, is the play for UNCW’s Keith Rendleman and Towson’s Jerelle Benimon, two of the CAA’s premier inside players.
Rendleman is averaging 15.6 points and 10.2 rebounds through 21 games and ranks eighth in the CAA in scoring, third in rebounding, fifth in field goal percentage, fourth in steals and seventh in blocks. He has racked up 11 double-doubles this season with 33 for his four-year career.
Benimon, who averages 16.9 points and 11.5 rebounds, has been equally as impressive. The Georgetown transfer leads the nation with 14 double-doubles and is coming off a 21-point, 17-rebound night last Wednesday in Towson’s 68-66 victory at Old Dominion.
“He has a variety of skills and has played very well this season,” added Peterson. “You can’t just concentrate on Benimon. Coach (Pat) Skerry has some nice pieces to complement him and that’s why they have been so successful in league play.”
Benimon scored 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds in the first matchup between the two clubs on Jan. 2. He anchored four players in double figures as the Tigers bolted out to a 44-28 lead at intermission and held on down the stretch at Trask Coliseum. Rendleman closed with 14 points and 21 rebounds in UNCW’s first conference loss of the season.
If the Seahawks are going to stick with the much-improved Tigers, they will have to improve their aim. In the last three games, Peterson’s club has shot just 36.8 percent on 56-of-142 from the floor. That includes 6-of-29 from long distance in the last two contests.
UNCW and Towson are playing for the 28th time overall and 21st time as CAA foes. UNCW leads the all-time series by a 16-11 margin, but the two teams have split the last 10 matchups. The last four games have been decided by six points or less.
The Seahawks, only 1-11 away from home this season, are hoping to pick up their second road win of the year. Towson stands just 2-5 at home and has lost two in a row on its home floor to George Mason (77-67) and Georgia State (71-69).
Following Monday’s dance with the Tigers, the Seahawks continue their busy stretch Wednesday when Georgia State pays its final visit to Trask Coliseum. The Panthers, who knocked off the Seahawks, 81-63 on Jan. 23, are leaving for the Sun Belt Conference at the end of the season.
The game with the Panthers kicks off a two-game home stand for the Seahawks, who entertain Hofstra on Saturday (Feb. 9) in a television contest at Noon.