Men’s basketball drops conference game to James Madison

Evan Edwards | Staff Writer

The UNC Wilmington men’s basketball team fought hard but came up short on Monday night, losing to conference foe James Madison, 63-56.  

“We’re obviously thrilled to get a road win, it’s a big deal,” said James Madison coach Matt Brady. “In college basketball, to get a road, conference win, is hard to do.”

Keith Rendleman and Chris Dixon did the best they could to keep the Seahawks close. Rendleman filled up the stat sheet, finishing with 20 points, 13 rebounds, four blocks, three assists, and two steals for UNCW. Dixon added 16 points and four assists.

“We wanted to make sure they couldn’t get a third guy deep into double figures,” said Coach Brady. “Rendleman is just a really good basketball player.”

The Seahawks (8-12, 3-5) desperately needed that third guy to step up, something that as of late hasn’t been for the team. Fortunately for the Dukes (12-10, 6-3), the rest of UNCW’s roster went M.I.A. just in time.

“Our guards have got to score,” said Seahawk coach Buzz Peterson. “That’s where we have been playing pretty well. We had some guys that didn’t step up tonight.”

Nobody in the CAA as of late has been hotter than Dixon. Coming into the game, he had scored 20 or more points in 4 straight games, including a 30 point performance in a win over George Mason. Tonight however, his counterpart JMU senior guard Devon Moore from James Madison stole the show.

“He was tremendous,” said Coach Brady. “He took the challenge of guarding Chris (Dixon). He takes those challenges very personally. He played tremendous defense.”

As the second half kept winding down, Moore’s defense became more and more suffocating.

“We told Chris just go get the ball,” said Coach Peterson. “They did a very good job denying him the ball, also challenging his shots.”

Defense is one thing, but Devon Moore is far from a one-dimensional player. He took over the game in the second half, scoring 15 of his 19 points while shooting a perfect 6-6 from the field. He also added seven rebounds and three assists for the Dukes.

“On the offensive end, we wanted to keep the ball in his hands as much as we could,” said Coach Brady. “He made plays for us. We really did kind of ride Devon in the second half.”

Monday night’s game completed a three game-in-six day stretch for the Seahawks. They’ll return to the floor Saturday night when they visit the University of Delaware.

“I don’t know if we ran out of gas, or what,” said Coach Peterson. “I don’t like to make excuses. Hats off to James Madison.”