| @Towson_MBB - UNCW Preview
Courtesy: Mat Schlissel, TowsonTigers.com  
Release: 01/01/2013

Towson (5-8, 0-0) had very little time to celebrate its 67-66 overtime win over Oregon State on Saturday.

The Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) schedule used to start in December, but this season the Tigers meet their first CAA opponent on Wednesday, Jan. 2, when they face UNCW (5-7, 0-0) in Wilmington, N.C. at 7 p.m.

Last season, Towson won one basketball game, defeating the Seahawks, 66-61, at the Towson Center on January 28. The game also marked the end of an NCAA-record, 41-game losing streak for the Tigers.

This season they have five wins.

The Seahawks will have revenge on their minds on Wednesday and are also happy to be playing at Trask Coliseum where they are 5-0 this year.

Both teams have similar issues in 2012-13. The Seahawks rank last in scoring in the CAA with 59.7 ppg, while Towson ranks 10th (62.3 ppg) - second to last. Defensively, UNCW allows 67.6 ppg and ranks sixth in field goal percentage defense at 44 percent. Towson ranks first at 38.4 percent.

UNCW opened the season with a win at home over UNC Asheville, 67-59. The Seahawks followed that with three straight losses at Richmond (101-58), at Ohio (85-47) and at Purdue (66-40). UNCW then won two straight over Wofford (49-37) and Hampton (61-60).

The Seahawks started December with a loss at Marshall, 61-58. On December 5, they defeated Coker, 62-47, at home. After a tough loss at Georgia Tech, 73-66, they lost, 77-61, at Davidson on Dec. 15. UNCW closed out its non-conference schedule with a win over UNC Greensboro, 87-73, on Dec. 19 and a loss at Campbell on Dec. 29, 72-60.

This game should be a matchup between two of the best power forwards in the CAA. Towson's junior Jerrelle Benimon and UNCW's Keith Rendleman (6-8, 220). Both players average 16.2 points per game, while Benimon ranks second in the CAA with 11.6 rebounds per game and Rendleman ranks third with 9.7 rpg. Rendleman also shoots 53 percent from the floor, while leading the team with 24 steals.

At center, sophomore Cedrick Williams (6-9, 220) provides length and another quality rebounder inside. He averages 5.8 ppg and 7.4 rpg, while leading the team in blocks with 20 in 12 games. He averages 25.7 minutes per game, shoots 39 percent from the floor and 79 percent from the line.

UNCW utilizes a three-guard lineup led by junior point guard Tanner Milson (6-2, 190). He leads the team with 31 assists (32 turnovers), while averaging 8.1 ppg. He shoots an impressive 35 percent (17-of-49) from beyond the arc.

Redshirt freshman Craig Ponder (6-1, 185) ranks second on the team in scoring with 8.3 ppg in 25.3 mpg, while shooting 43.4 percent from the floor and 44 percent (11-of-25) from beyond the arc. He also has 13 assists and 36 turnovers this season.

Sophomore guard Freddie Jackson (6-4, 182) rounds out the guard trio. He averages 6.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg and is second on the team with 19 steals. He shoots 43 percent from the field and 35 percent (7-of-20) from beyond the arc.

The Seahawks have a pretty deep bench. They can go 11 deep, though three players normally see double-digit minutes off the bench. Freshman guard Chris Dixon (6-0, 188) is the top performer off the pine, averaging 5.6 ppg, while dishing out 22 assists.

Grad student Tyree Graham (6-1, 225) has spent time at Rutgers, Brunswick Community College and Texas Tech but has had health problems that have limited his playing time. He's a physically tough player, who averages 3.2 ppg.

Redshirt freshman Luke Hager (6-8, 205) and junior Shane Reybold (6-8, 238) are the top post players off the bench.

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