Manhattan (6-2) at UNC-Wilmington (6-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, December 15, 2 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Trask Coliseum (5,500) -- Wilmington, North Carolina. Television: None. Home Record: Manhattan 1-2, UNCW 3-1. Away Record: Manhattan 5-0, UNCW 3-4. Neutral Record: Manhattan 0-0, UNCW 0-0. Conference Record: Manhattan 2-0, UNCW 0-0. Series Record: Manhattan leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: Both the Manhattan Jaspers and UNC-Wilmington Seahawks will attempt to extend winning streaks on Sunday afternoon, as the two squads square off at Trask Coliseum.
Manhattan has won three straight contests, including its first two Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference bouts versus Marist (70-59) and Monmouth (75-66), to improve to an impressive 6-2 on the season. The Jaspers have played surprisingly well on the road too, winning all five of their games away from home, most notably a double-overtime thriller in the season opener versus La Salle, 99-90.
UNCW has recently moved above .500 thanks to back-to-back wins, taking down East Carolina on the road on Dec. 1 (70-68) before returning home on Dec. 3 to beat Campbell (69-50). The Seahawks have lost just one of their four games at Trask Coliseum this season.
These two teams met just once before, with Manhattan winning a BracketBuster matchup in February of 2012, 79-64.
Despite falling behind by six points at the half to Monmouth its last time out, Manhattan improved its field goal percentage from .308 in the first half to .536 in the second as it dismissed the MAAC newcomers. The majority of the team's output came off the bench, with Tyler Wilson (15 points) and Emmy Andujar (13 points) combining to miss just one of their 11 field goal attempts. George Beamon was also solid with 11 points, while Rhamel Brown flirted with a triple-double by tallying 10 points, eight rebounds and eight blocks. On the season, the Jaspers shoot a lackluster 41.7 percent from the floor, but they're still able to generate 76.1 points per game, 4.5 points more than they allow. Beamon scores a team-high 20.4 points per game, but his production is largely a result of high volume, as he shoots just 38.2 percent from the field. Michael Alvarado (11.6 ppg) is the only other player in double figures, while Brown (9.0 ppg, 6.9 rpg) is a defensive difference-maker with 4.5 blocks per game.
The Seahawks had complete control of their last game, outshooting Campbell from the field, 51.9 percent to 36.2 percent, and winning the rebounding battle, 43-30, en route to the 19-point victory. Shane Reybold sparked the squad with a double-double consisting of 15 points and 10 rebounds. Freddie Jackson poured in 11 points off the bench, while Cedrick Williams and Craig Ponder netted 10 points apiece. Even though UNCW has a winning record this season, it still lives in the red with its scoring margin (-4.0), putting up just 68.2 points per game while allowing 72.2 ppg. It has an especially difficult time from beyond the arc, making just 23 percent of its 178 long- range attempts. Williams (14.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg) leads the charge from the frontcourt by shooting 57.1 percent from the field. Addison Spruill brings 13.0 points per game to the table, while no one else registers more than 6.7 points per outing.
Even though UNCW owns the home court advantage and has been playing better of late, Manhattan has been the more impressive team. The Jaspers have proven early and often that they are capable of winning on the road, and they should do enough to down the Seahawks in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Manhattan 75, UNC Wilmington 70
12/15 10:32:34 ET