Early season road games are never easy, and against tough opponents, they have the potential to get out of hand. UNCW discovered this for the second time this year, losing 85-47 on Friday night to an Ohio Bobcat team fresh off a Sweet 16 appearance in March.
The Bobcats opened up a 13-0 lead before the first media timeout, and the outcome was never in jeopardy. The early run was largely due to the fact that the Seahawks turned the ball over on their first six possessions, and eight of their first 10 possessions.
UNCW tallied 26 turnovers, its third straight game at least 18. To give credit where it’s due, Richmond and Ohio were two skilled teams in terms of forcing turnovers last season. However, the UNCW team and staff certainly expected a better showing from the guards, specifically freshman point guard Craig Ponder, and Buzz Peterson eventually turned to Tanner Milson to run the point.
Milson thrives as a spot-up shooter, and moving him to the point decreases his efficiency as a shooter. On the other hand, if the team can’t hold onto the ball long enough to work for open shots, it is worth moving Milson to the point. I suggest you read Brian Mulls’ articles detailing coach Buzz Peterson’s lineup experimentation and how the Seahawks may remedy the situation.
Per usual, Keith Rendleman led UNCW on the court. Rendleman led the team with 17 points and seven rebounds, adding two blocks, one assist, and one steal. Thus far, Rendleman has proven worthy as a preseason All-CAA first team selection, but he’ll need consistent help from his teammates in order for the Seahawks to reach their full potential.
UNCW will be double-digit underdogs for the third straight game when they travel to West Lafayette, Indiana to square off with the Purdue Boilermakers on Wednesday, November 21st. Obviously winning is always the goal, but if the team can simply limit the turnovers and stay competitive, it will be a big step in the right direction.
Drexel finally gave coach Bruiser Flint his 200th win and got itself in the win column for the first time this season as the Dragons defeated Pennsylvania 61-59 at the Palestra on Saturday.
Redshirt freshman Tavon Allen scored all 15 of his points in the second half and helped spark the run that gave Drexel the lead. Drexel trailed 49-42 before an 18-4 run put the Dragons up 60-53 with 57 seconds remaining.
Allen saw extended action in place of oft-injured senior guard Chris Fouch. Fouch left the midway through the second half with a leg injury. Sophomore Damion Lee also did not play due to a neck injury.
Big man Daryl McCoy accounted for 14 of Drexel’s 35 rebounds in an outstanding effort on the glass. Dartaye Ruffin helped to pick up the scoring void left by Lee and Fouch with 15 points and seven boards. The Dragons also shot 40% from three-point range.
Unfortunately, Drexel’s turnovers were again an issue, as they amassed 16 turnovers for the third straight game. The inability to take care of the ball cost Drexel dearly in its first two games, and has left them with a 1-2 record heading into the Anaheim Classic.
The Dragons have a chance at a marquee victory on Thanksgiving Thursday, as they take on Saint Mary’s at 4:30 in a nationally televised game on ESPN 2.
The Old Dominion Monarchs started Saturday’s road matchup with Cleveland State well enough, taking a 30-25 lead into halftime. The Vikings completely turned the tables after the half, riding a 15-1 second half run to a 67-55 victory over the Monarchs on Saturday afternoon.
A lackluster offensive showing was the culprit for Old Dominion, as no player was able to reach the double-digit mark in scoring. Dimitri Batten and Keenan Palmore led the team with nine points each. This was problematic considering that Cleveland State’s entire starting lineup finished in double figures. As the season progresses, we can expect the freshman Palmore and transfer Deshawn Painter to aide the Monarchs’ scoring woes.
The Monarchs will attempt to get back to its winning ways when they host the Keydets of VMI at 7 P.M on Wednesday night.
The Northeastern Huskies had a chance for their first 3-0 start since the ’84-’85 season. Senior captain Joel Smith did everything in his power to help the Huskies’ chances for a historic start, as his 15 points more than doubled his team’s total production in the first half. Unfortunatel, his teammates were unable to provide consistent production on a Saturday night that ended in a 66-55 loss for Northeastern.
Following the script of their first two games, the Huskies trailed at the half, this time by a 31-22 deficit. The Huskies made their charge in the second half, slicing the lead to three with 11:05 to play, but Vermont thwarted Northeastern’s attempts at late game heroics. It was a night where Quincy Ford struggled to get it going and Reggie Spencer had his hands full with Vermont’s two big men, freshman Ethan O’Day and junior Clancy Rugg.
O’Day was a revelation for Vermont, finishing with 17 points, four rebounds and three blocks. Vermont placed four scorers in double figures, and dominated Northeastern in both points in the paint and bench points. The team effort was too much for Northeastern as Joel Smith was the only who exceeded his season averages, with 25 points and five rebounds. Reggie Spencer was the only other Husky to finish in double figure scoring, and was one rebound shy of his third career double-double.
The Huskies will look to bounce back on Wednesday, when they take on UC-Riverside in The Great Alaskan Shootout.
Tomorrow we’ll get you caught up on all the tournament action from the Paradise Jam, Comfort Suites and 2K Sports’ Classics.