UNC-Wilmington (1-2) at Purdue (1-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, November 21, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Mackey Arena (14,846) -- West Lafayette, Indiana. Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: UNCW 1-0, Purdue 1-1. Away Record: UNCW 0-2, Purdue 0-0. Neutral Record: UNCW 0-0, Purdue 0-2. Conference Record: UNCW 0-0, Purdue 0-0. Series Record: First meeting.
GAME NOTES: A pair of teams looking to stop two-game losing streaks will take to the floor at Mackey Arena in a bout between the UNC-Wilmington Seahawks and the Purdue Boilermakers.
After besting UNC Asheville (67-59) in its home and season opener, UNC- Wilmington has been ripped up with losses in each of its last two games, both on the road. First the Seahawks were trampled by Richmond (101-58) before having another rout put on the ledger by Ohio (85-47). This game is the last of the current three-game homestand with UNCW returning home for three of its next four games.
During its two-game skid Purdue has been in much more closely contested battles. That includes an 89-81 loss in overtime to Villanova during the 2K Sports Classic at Madison Square Garden, followed by a 66-58 loss to Oregon State. Even so Purdue's 1-3 mark through the first four games is far from ideal. Purdue will turn right around after this game to face Clemson on the road as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
When these two teams meet up on Wednesday it will mark the first ever matchup between them.
UNCW dug itself into a deep hole early on versus Ohio as the Bobcats sprinted out on a 13-0 run. From there the Seahawks were never able to recover as they managed less than 10 field goals in both halves and hit on just 2-of-11 shots from beyond the arc. UNCW also failed to hold onto the ball by coughing it up 26 times which led to 31 points for Ohio. Keith Rendleman (17 points) was the only player on the team that seemed to be able to get anything going offensively.
Although it is still early, UNCW desperately needs to improve on the defensive end of the floor as the Seahawks are being gashed for 81.7 points per game. That's not to say that they have been strong on offense by any stretch (57.3 ppg). If it were not for Rendelman (15.0 ppg, 9.3 rpg) UNC Wilmington could very well be losing by even larger totals. Not only has Rendleman been a double-double threat in every game he is the only player on the UNCW roster scoring more than seven points per game. Cedrick Williams (7.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg) is the closest the Seahawks have to a second option. The Seahawks have not gotten very good play from their guards with only 11.3 assists per game as a team. The backcourt will be even weaker with Tyree Graham (5.7 ppg, 3.3 apg) out with a hernia.
In the loss to Oregon State, Purdue shot just .338 from the floor overall, including a poor 5-of-19 showing from behind the arc. A.J. Hammons however, was immune to the poor performance at the offensive end, nwetting a team-high 20 points, on 8-of-10 shooting. Hammons was joined in double figures by D.J. Byrd and Anthony Johnson, who finished with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Despite its 1-3 record, Purdue actually owns a positive scoring differential (+2.0) this season which speaks to just how closely contested its games have been. There are six different scorers on the team that are putting in more than eight points per game for the Boilermakers led by Byrd (11.0 ppg). One strength that Purdue has really exploited early on is on the offensive glass. The Boilermakers are bringing in 17.3 offensive rebounds a game while owning a 6.0 per game edge in second chance points. It has been the freshman Hammons who has been the leader there with 2.3 offensive boards per game. Hammons (8.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg) leads the team in rebounds overall. Anthony Johnson (9.0 ppg, 3.0 apg) and Ronnie Johnson (8.2 ppg, 4.5 apg) can score and pass the ball out of the backcourt.
Purdue's record is misleading. Though the Boilermakers have lost a number of games they have kept it close. Now that they are back on their home floor against a UNCW team that has been weak on both ends of the court, Purdue will start getting back in the win column.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Purdue 78, UNC-Wilmington 59
11/21 10:37:45 ET