Press release from UNCW's Athletic Department:
WILMINGTON, North Carolina – UNCW continues its climb to the .500 mark Saturday when the Seahawks embark on their shortest road trip of the season, a 113-mile trek up the road to bucolic Buies Creek to battle longtime rival Campbell.
The Seahawks, 5-6, will be trying to build on a convincing 87-73 triumph nine days ago against UNC Greensboro. Coach Buzz Peterson's club reached several season highs in their best offensive performance in the last 47 games.
"Our guys had some time off and they needed it," said Peterson. "We faced a difficult early schedule, with six games on the road, and it was important for them to get re-energized. Now it's time to get back to work with this final non-conference game and our CAA schedule."
If Saturday's 1 p.m. clash with the Camels is anything like the last two years, it promises to be a dandy. Campbell won on Junard Hartley's corner buzzer-beater two years ago in Buies Creek and center Matt Wilson returned the favor with a tip-in as the horn sounded last year in Trask Coliseum.
"We know it's going to be a tough game, especially after the last two years," added Peterson. "It's always a big rivalry game, and I'm sure Coach (Robbie) Laing will have his team ready."
The Camels, 3-9, are also playing for the first time since the break and traveled to the Pacific Northwest just before Christmas. Gonzaga handed CU a 74-52 loss at the MacCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane and the Camels fell, 72-49, to Seattle last Saturday. Campbell is going from playing the Redhawks to tackling the Seahawks.
‘Campbell returns three starters from last year's team, including Darren White," Peterson said. "They have already played Iowa State, Cincinnati and Gonzaga, so they're battled tested. I know they've had some injuries problems, so their record is deceptive. We haven't fared well on the road this season and this is another big challenge for us."
The Seahawks have dropped 12 consecutive road games spanning over to last season, including eight straight non-conference road tests. Campbell stands 3-3 at 3,095-seat Pope Convocation Center, including the dagger two years ago.
"I'm sure some of our returning players remember that ending," Peterson said. "We controlled most of the game and (Junard) Hartley hit that fadeaway jumper from the corner. It was a tough way to lose, that's for sure."
Senior forward Keith Rendleman is having a CAA Player-of-the-Year caliber season for UNCW. The 6-8, 220-pound performer turned in his third 20-point outing in four games with 23 points and 12 rebounds against UNCG. It was his fourth double-double of the season and the 26th of his successful career.
Rendleman paces the team with 16.0 points and 9.5 rebounds each contest. Five other players are chipping in at least five points per game for Peterson's club.
White. a 6-4, 210-pound senior guard, is averaging 20.9 ppg, but just returned to the lineup after missing four games with a hand injury. He exploded for 28 points in Campbell's near-miss last season in Wilmington. Sophomore guard Trey Freeman is adding 13.2 ppg and junior guard Darian Hooker collects 11.6 ppg.
Campbell enters the game with a four-game losing streak following losses to Robert Morris, Rio Grande, Gonzaga and Seattle. In that span, the Camels have averaged just 56.0 ppg after collecting 74.4 ppg over the first eight games.
While the Seahawks and Camels are meeting for just the second time at the Pope Center, it's the 98th installment in the series that has UNCW on top, 56-41. The two teams have battled in Wilmington, Buies Creek, Angier, Fayetteville and Raleigh since the series originated in 1952.
Following Saturday's tilt, the Seahawks begin their 18-game Colonial Athletic Association slate on Jan. 2 with a 7 p.m. clash against Towson at Trask Coliseum.