Although the game was far from pretty, Keith Rendleman was able to deliver another beautiful performance Sunday to carry UNC Wilmington past Hampton for a one point, 61-60 victory in the final game of the Nations of Coaches Classic.
Rendleman led the way for the Seahawks, netting 23 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. However it was the Wilmington native, Freddie Jackson, that scored the game winning basket. With 1:02 remaining in the game, Jackson hit the go-ahead layup courtesy of an excellent pass from Luke Hager.
The Seahawks still had to stop one more Hampton possession in order to preserve the win, however.
With 20 seconds remaining, down one, the Pirates got the ball in the hands of play-maker Deron Powers. As his teammate came up to set a screen, the UNCW defenders saw it coming and switched players, leaving the 6’8″ Rendleman to guard the 5’11” Powers as time expired. That proved to be Powers’ worst nightmare as he could not even get off a shot attempt before the final buzzer sounded.
“Our kids never gave up,” Coach Buzz Peterson said after the game. “They kept fighting the whole time and I’m proud of them. You never know, if you keep working hard, good things might happen in the end and they did for us today.”
The Seahawks were able to win despite shooting just 38% from the field. They were 4-22 from the perimeter and left 18 points at the free throw line, going 21-39 from the charity strike.
“As a coach, I have a hard time accepting missed free throws,” Peterson said. “We have to have those.”
Turnovers continue to be this team’s Achilles heel. With 13 in the first half, the Seahawks found themselves down by four at halftime.
“The first half was frustrating for me,” Rendleman said. “I was getting fouled and couldn’t knock down free throws. And I had four turnovers.”
The Seahawks looked much better in the second half, only committing four turnovers as Hampton committed eight.
“In the second half, I just really wanted to pick it up and help my team,” Rendleman said. “And that’s what happened.”
Freddie Jackson finished with 12 points for the Seahawks while Tanner Milson added 10. Foul trouble prevented Cedrick Williams from doing much in this game, as he was only able to contribute 4 points and 4 rebounds. David Bruce led all Pirate scorers with 13.
After a brutal two week stretch, the Seahawks improve to 3-3 on the year and will gladly take the win, something Coach Peterson knows doesn’t come easy.
“You take them any way you can get em’,” Peterson said. “Ugly win, whatever.”