UNC-Wilmington (1-1) at Ohio University (1-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 16, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Convocation Center (13,080) -- Athens, Ohio. Television: None. Home Record: UNCW 1-0, Ohio 1-0. Away Record: UNCW 0-1, Ohio 0-0. Neutral Record: UNCW 0-0, Ohio 0-0. Conference Record: UNCW 0-0, Ohio 0-0. Series Record: Ohio University leads, 3-1.
GAME NOTES: Jim Christian will try to stay undefeated as the Bobcats' head coach when Ohio University hosts the UNC-Wilmington Seahawks at the Convocation Center in non-conference action.
UNCW is coming off a 101-58 road loss to the Richmond Spiders. The Seahawks were a perfect 19-of-19 at the free throw line in the loss, but they were unable to keep pace after turning the ball over 18 times and converting only 32.1 percent from the field. The setback came after a season opening 67-59 victory over UNC-Asheville. Coach Buzz Peterson compiled a 23-29 record over his first two seasons with UNCW, but the team has finished higher than predicted both years.
Christian coached the Bobcats to an 81-52 rout of Portland in his debut in Athens on Saturday. Ohio shot 50 percent from the field (29-of-58) in the win while limiting Portland to just 35 percent (17-of-49). Its transition game made a big impact as it also held a 16-3 advantage in fast break points. The Bobcats are the favorites to win the Mid-American Conference this season after last season's trip to the Sweet 16.
This will be just the fifth meeting between these programs on the hardwood. Ohio holds a 3-1 series lead in the all-time series that has been idle since the 1980-1981 season.
Senior forward Keith Rendleman is the most reliable player within the UNCW program. He carried a double-digit scoring average in both his sophomore (11.2 ppg) and junior (15.3) seasons. Rendleman also pulled down 10 rebounds per contest last season. He has gone 5-of-10 from the floor for 14 points in both outings this season. Sophomore forward Cedrick Williams looked like he was going to be a force playing alongside Rendleman with 15 points and 13 rebounds in the season opener, but he digressed to just four-points at Richmond. Freddie Jackson could be poised for a breakout performance. The sophomore point guard is just 1-of-8 from the field through two games, but he has recorded a team- high seven steals on the other end of the floor.
Ohio is one of the few mid-major programs with a legitimate NBA prospect on its roster. D.J. Cooper has been fantastic for Ohio since arriving from Chicago four years ago. The all-league point guard began his senior campaign with 18 points, five rebounds, six assists, and three steals versus Portland. Cooper has plenty of help surrounding him with Nick Kellogg, Reggie Keely, and Ivo Baltic playing significant roles. Kellogg also scored 18 points versus the Pilots thanks to 4-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc. Keely (13) and Baltic (10) both scored in double-figures in the opener as well.
Although the Bobcats are in a conference that is better known for football, they are talented and deep enough to compete with anyone in the nation. Ohio is going to continue to rise in the rankings with an easy win in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ohio University 80, UNC Wilmington 61
11/16 10:32:56 ET