WILMINGTON, NC Feb. 19, 2013 – With double-double machine Keith Rendleman on the cusp of smashing the school’s rebounding record and the season racing toward an end, the UNCW men’s basketball team visits Old Dominion Wednesday night for its final game against the Monarchs in CAA play.
The Seahawks (10-16, 5-9) travel to Virginia’s sprawling Tidewater region in search of their first series sweep of the season and first of ODU since the 2008 campaign. ODU has struggled in 2012-13 with a 3-23 overall record and 1-13 conference mark and is wrapping up a difficult year under interim head coach Jim Corrigan.
UNCW and ODU tip off at 7 p.m. at the Ted Constant Center. The game can be heard locally on Sunny 104.5 FM or over the internet at www.1045SunnyFM.com. Live stats will be provided on UNCWsports.com and live in-game Twitter updates will be available via @uncwmenshoops.
“Their record might not indicate it, but they’ve been right there in a lot of games,” said third-year UNCW Head Coach Buzz Peterson said of the Monarchs. “Jim’s letting them play and they’re more relaxed. They’re playing much looser, and they’ve been close to winning them.”
ODU, which terminated the contract of longtime coach Blaine Taylor on Feb. 5, has lost three straight games and 13 of its last 14 contests. The Monarchs are 1-14 on their home floor this season, last winning on Nov. 10 over Morgan State
Even so, ODU features enough firepower to deny UNCW’s bid for a sweep. N.C. State transfer DeShawn Painter leads the team with 12.7 points and 8.5 rebounds per game and the Monarchs are one of the CAA’s top rebounding clubs, especially on the offensive glass.
“ODU has always been a very strong rebounding team,” added Peterson. “We have to make sure they don’t get too many second chances.”
The Monarchs dropped a 74-62 home verdict to regional rival William & Mary on Saturday in their last outing. Painter collected 16 points and 10 rebounds, but Marcus Thornton’s career-high of 32 points kept ODU from winning a conference home game in seven tries this season.
UNCW, meanwhile, hits the road trying to build on a 73-67 upset of first place Northeastern last Saturday at Trask Coliseum. Rendleman had 23 points and 11 rebounds as the Seahawks shot 52 percent to pull off the upset of the well-balanced Huskies.
Rendleman, who shared CAA Player-of-the-Week honors this week with the elusive Thornton, is making his 120th career appearance on Wednesday and has collected 1,427 points and 1,011 rebounds. The Iron Station, N.C., workhorse is five shy of breaking Brian Rowsom’s rebounding mark of 1,015 caroms that has lasted 26 years. Rendleman is just one of seven players in CAA history with at least 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.
“Reaching 1,000 rebounds is quite an accomplishment and something that’s hard to do,” Peterson said. “Keith plays so hard and rebounds out of his area. It’s a record that’s been around for a long time. I hope he gets it quickly and we can move on.”
Rendleman, who is averaging a team-best 16.2 ppg and 10.4 rpg, is shooting for his sixth consecutive double-double, his 17th of the season and the 39th of his career. He also needs just 11 rejections to set a new school record for blocked shots, surpassing all-time great and UNCW Athletics Hall of Fame Garry Cooper.
Rendleman was one of three players in double figures in the first matchup between the two teams. He bounced back from early foul trouble to finish with 14 points and 13 rebounds to spearhead a 65-60 triumph. Junior guard Chris Dixon led the way with 14 points and redshirt freshman Craig Ponder had 13 as the Seahawks rallied a three-point deficit at halftime.
Painter turned out to be a handful for the Seahawks in the first matchup. The 6-9, 235-pound forward scored 18 points and grabbed eight boards for ODU, which scored 38 points in the paint and committed just nine turnovers back on Jan. 16 in Wilmington.
UNCW and ODU are meeting for the 48th time overall and 44th as CAA opponents. The Monarchs own a 29-18 advantage in the series and have won seven of the last 10 pairings. The Norfolk-based club is moving to Conference USA next season after 22 years in the CAA (since 1992).
The road has not been kind to the Seahawks this season. The Seahawks, 1-13 away from the Port City, are trying to avoid tying for the worst road record in a single season. UNCW fashioned one-win seasons away from home in 2006-07 (1-13) and 2008-09 (1-14).
Following Wednesday’s tilt, the Seahawks return to Trask Coliseum to close out their home schedule with a pair of games, beginning on Saturday against Delaware at 7 p.m. UNCW then wraps up its home slate on Wednesday, Feb. 27, against the Tribe.