Seahawks upend visiting Panthers

Matt Stone | Staff Writer

The UNC Wilmington men’s basketball team fought hard and notched a huge conference win against one of the CAA’s front running teams, knocking off Georgia State 76-72 Wednesday night at Trask Coliseum .

The Panthers had come in hot, winning six of their last seven games, but the Seahawks had one of their best shooting nights in a while and it proved to be just enough to carry them over the edge. The Seahawks’ win breaks a streak of five straight losses to the Panthers, dating back to 2011.

“We were due for everybody to have a good shooting night,” said guard Craig Ponder. “Everybody’s been missing so we knew everyone was due to get on the right track and start knocking shots down.”


Ponder definitely had a hot shooting night, leading all Seahawk scorers with 17 points and three 3-pointers. He was consistently getting in the lane and either pulling up for a jump shot or feeding one of the big men in the post for an easy bucket.


This game was played at a very fast pace, with both teams frenetically moving up and down the hardwood. The crowd was energized very early, as the Seahawks first bucket was off an alley- oop dish from point guard Chris Dixon to star forward Keith Rendleman for an emphatic two handed dunk.


Rendleman notched his 13th double double of the season, finishing with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

“To play with the energy they played with tonight, I’m very proud of them,” said Coach Buzz Peterson. “Our game plan coming in was to make sure that against their zone we were getting layups and free throws not to shoot outside shots.

“You always go into a game and the game plan gets thrown away, you never know what happens, you have to be ready for a surprise,” Peterson added. “That surprise was Cedrick Williams tonight. I thought Cedrick stepped up and had a big night. He kept us in the big line up and did a good job.”

Williams had a very solid game, finishing with 14 points and six boards. He was also 100 percent on free throws (4-4), which helped the Seahawks ice the game in the closing seconds.

The win was not without struggle, however, as the Seahawks did encounter a bit of trouble from the Panthers backcourt.

Junior guard Devonta White, and freshman superstar RJ Hunter lit up the scoreboard for the Panthers. Hunter did most of his damage in the first half, hitting five of his six threes before the intermission. UNCW sophomore guard Freddie Jackson gave Hunter fits in the second half, holding him to six points.

“Give UNCW a lot of credit, they made shots and played really well,” said Panther coach Ron Hunter. “We were just a step behind, we made mistake after mistake after mistake. This is the worst defensively we’ve played since I’ve been at Georgia State.”

The Seahawks controlled the lead for most of the second half after going into halftime up 10. But, the Panthers got the lead down to 4 and the Seahawks almost made a fatal error.

Dixon was guarding Panthers point guard, White, and was trying to go around a screen when he inadvertently made contact with White earning only his second foul of the night. This foul made the game interesting, sending White to the line with 16.9 seconds to go in the contest. White sank both free throws, pulling the Seahawk lead down to a 2-point game.

Cedrick Williams was then fouled with 16 seconds left and calmly sank both free throws. The Panthers in turn scurried down the court and launched a desperation shot which bounced over the backboard.

Those free throws turned out to be the icing on the cake for the ‘Hawks tonight, improving their record to 9-14 overall and 4-7 in conference play. The Panthers dropped their record down to 12-13, and 7-5 in conference.

UNCW takes to the court again Saturday in Trask Coliseum at noon against Hofstra, and the Panthers head back to Atlanta for a big conference match up against Towson on the 9th.