Seahawks drop tough one to Delaware

Evan Edwards | Staff Writer

For the UNC Wilmington men’s basketball team, it has been a season filled with disappointments. On Saturday night,  the pool of let-downs became deeper when the Seahawks lost to visiting Delaware, 79-78.

It’s one thing to get blown out, but losing in a nail-biter stings far worse.

Down one with 7.2 seconds left in the game, the Seahawks got their chance when junior guard Chris Dixon grabbed a rebound off a miss from Delaware’s Devon Saddler, and UNCW head coach Buzz Peterson called a timeout.

With Keith Rendleman disqualified from the contest at this point due to fouling out, there was only one other person Coach Peterson wanted taking the last shot: Chris Dixon.

“We were just trying to get it to me quick off the ball screen and see if it was open, which it was,” Dixon said. “I just have got to step up and make a shot.”  

A lot credit is due to Delaware head coach Monte Ross. He knew just as well as anybody in the building that the last shot was going to Dixon.

“We thought maybe a high ball screen for Dixon, like they did,” Ross said. “We did contest the shot, and fortunately he missed it and we were able to pull it out.”

All the hype going into the game was directed towards Delaware’s first-team All-CAA perfomers in guard Devon Saddler and big man Jamelle Hagins. Saddler didn’t disappoint, scoring 24 points and hitting the game-clinching shot on a long, well defended step-back jumper. Hagins on the other hand had a rather quiet night due to early foul trouble, scoring only four points.

While Saddler proved he was one of the best players in the conference, it was another Blue Hen that ran the show: Jarvis Threatt.

When Dixon took the last shot for UNCW, it was Threatt that fought threw a screen and was able to get both hands up, right in the shooter’s face.

Threatt is far from a one-dimensional player. From the tip, he had his way with the Seahawks’ backcourt. His speed went unmatched and allowed him to penetrate to the basket at his desire.

“Jarvis is very difficult to keep in front of you because he’s so wiry, he’s so creative, and he’s so athletic,” Ross said. “He really imposed his will on the game very early tonight, and when he does that it just makes us a pretty good basketball team.”

Rendleman led all scorers with 26 points. The senior added 12 rebounds, two blocks, and two steals, but went just 4-11 from the free throw line. Dixon chipped in 12 points and a career-high 11 assists for the Seahawks (10-17), while Cedrick Williams and Freddie Jackson both added 11 points.

Threatt finished the game with 23 points, 12 rebounds, and five assists for Delaware (16-13).

“Bottom line is, we had a chance to win the ball game,” Peterson said. “In this league, it comes down to one or two possessions. And those free throws are so important. We were 7 of 18 for 38%.”

The Seahawks will look to bounce back on Wednesday when William and Mary (12-15) come to the Port City for the final home game of the season.