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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, February 4, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Towson Center (5,000) -- Towson, Maryland. Television: None. Home Record: UNCW 7-2, Towson 2-5. Away Record: UNCW 1-11, Towson 6-7. Neutral Record: UNCW 0-0, Towson 3-0. Conference Record: UNCW 3-6, Towson 6-4. Series Record: UNC-Wilmington leads, 16-11.
GAME NOTES: Losers of two straight and three of the last four, the Seahawks of UNC-Wilmington try to get back on the right track on Monday night, as they tangle with the Towson Tigers in Colonial Athletic Association action at the Towson Center.
UNCW, which has won just once in 12 road games here in 2012-13, was defeated once again this past Saturday as the Delaware Blue Hens delivered a 71-56 knockout at the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark. With the setback, the Seahawks dropped to 3-6 in conference play, which has them sitting in eighth place in the standings.
As for the Tigers, they have been out of action since last Wednesday when they slipped by Old Dominion on the road in a 68-66 final. The victory not only snapped a three-game slide for the team this season, but it was the first win for the program against ODU in 19 opportunities, and moved them to 6-4 in league action which is good enough for a fifth-place tie with George Mason.
Last season, the Tigers won just a single game as they suffered through an NCAA-record 41-game losing streak, that one victory coming against UNCW by a score of 66-61. Last month, Towson met up with the Seahawks again and used the opportunity to post a 79-74 win on the road, which means the all-time series now numbers 16-11 in favor of UNCW.
It was a dismal shooting day for the Seahawks on Saturday as the team made just 34.5 percent from the floor and an even worse 15.4 percent (2-of-13) behind the 3-point line in the loss to Delaware. Craig Ponder came off the bench to post 14 points and Keith Rendleman added 11 and five rebounds before fouling out, but as they made a total of eight field goals, that means the rest of the team combined for just 11 made baskets. Playing an average of 33 minutes per game, Rendleman paces the program with his 15.6 ppg and is also clearing 10.2 rpg, making him one of only a handful of players in the country averaging a double-double. However, he is shooting just 60.7 percent at the free-throw line and has almost three times as many turnovers (46) as assists (16) at the moment and that doesn't help when the squad is scoring a mere 61.1 ppg.
Jerrelle Benimon stepped up to deliver 14 of the final 21 points for the Tigers in their narrow victory over ODU, a major accomplishment for a team that had been dominated by the Monarchs for so many years. Benimon finished with a game-high 21 points and also ripped down a staggering 17 rebounds to go along with five blocked shots in one of the most impressive games in quite some time for the Tigers. Also scoring in double figures for the visitors were Marcus Damas with 15 points, Rafriel Guthrie 14 and Mike Burwell with 10 points and six boards. In conference games this season the Tigers are shooting a mere 29.1 percent behind the 3-point line, but the good news is that they are still outscoring the competition overall. Benimon has been the catalyst with 17.9 ppg and 11.3 rpg in such games, adding 29 blocked shots and 33 assists to lead in those two categories as well.
Obviously Benimon is a talented performer, but there's only so many times the Tigers can ask him to carry the bulk of the load. Thankfully, that probably won't be the case on Monday night because UNCW doesn't pose much of a threat.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Towson 66, UNC-Wilmington 55
02/04 10:31:14 ET