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WILMINGTON,NC(WWAY) — Senior playmaker Chad Tomko keyed an 8-1 spurt with just under two minutes left to play to lift UNCW over Towson, 66-60, in a Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball game Saturday night at Trask Coliseum.

In a game that tipped off at 9 p.m. for television, the Seahawks moved to 10-9 overall and evened their CAA record at 4-4 in the loop. The Tigers plummeted to 4-14 and suffered their eight consecutive conference loss without a win.

“I’m a big believer in winning all of your home games and then trying to steal one on the road,” said first-year coach Buzz Peterson. “Towson threw a lot of different defenses on us and keep us off balance. We just tried to continue to run our offense. We just put it up there and let Keith go get it.”

While Tomko rallied UNCW down the stretch, it was sophomore Keith Rendleman who put the Seahawks on his shoulders most of the night. The Iron Station, N.C., product had a double double by halftime and closed with 23 points and 17 rebounds, both career highs in 50 appearances. Tomko wound up with 16 points, including a perfect 8-for-8 at the free throw line.

Senior guard Josh Brown and junior forward Braxton Dupree paced four Towson players in double digits with 14 points apiece. Freshman guard Dre Conner added 12 points and junior guard RaShawn Polk chipped in 10.

After falling behind, 34-33, at intermission, UNCW scored nine of the first 12 points of the second half to forge ahead, 42-37. A breakaway dunk by senior guard Ahmad Grant pushed the Seahawks out to a 42-37 advantage with just over 15 minutes left to play.

But the Tigers wouldn’t go away. A short hook in the paint by Dupree helped TU close to 53-52 with 4:03 on the clock before Tomko got going.

The water bug from Charlotte dropped in a pair of free throws and converted a steal and layup to push the lead to 57-52 and then added both ends of a one-and-one with 33 seconds left to cap the decisive 8-1 run that enabled the Seahawks pull away late.

Towson trailed early before rallying to take the lead, 34-33, at intermission behind a sizzling 63.6 percent from the floor. The Tigers drained 14-of-22 field goals in the opening 20 minutes to take the lead into the break.

TU’s late spurt in the first half overshadowed a spectacular performance by Rendleman, who racked up 15 points and 12 rebounds going into the locker room.

UNCW’s largest lead of the first period was six points when Rendleman connected on the jumper along the left baseline to give the Seahawks a 14-8 advantage at 13:48.

The Seahawks still led, 31-27, before the Tigers scored seven unanswered points in the final two minutes to inch ahead at halftime. A triple by Philmore in front of the UNCW bench with 1:25 remaining gave the Tigers their first lead of the game, 32-31, and Brown made a steal and layup to give TU a 34-31 lead with 33 seconds on the clock. A Matt Wilson tip-in at the buzzer helped the Seahawks creep to within one point at the half.

The Seahawks visit Old Dominion’s Ted Constant Center on Monday for a 7 p.m. matchup with the Monarchs. The Tigers return home to entertain VCU on Monday in a 7 p.m. test at the Towson Center.

GAME NOTES: The Seahawks shot just 41.1 percent from the floor, including just 2-for-14 behind the arc…Tomko added four assists to his stat line…The Seahawks went 18-of-22 at the free throw line for 81.8 percent…Sophomore forward Isaiah Philmore pulled down 10 boards for Towson…UNCW scored 38 of its 66 points in the paint…The Seahawks had 11 second chance points…Sophomore center Matt Wilson pulled down seven rebounds, including four offensive boards…UNCW had 15 offensive rebounds to nine for the Tigers…UNCW improved to 15-9 lifetime against Towson and 9-1 at Trask Coliseum.

TWO MORE NOTES: Don’t forget about the Buzz Peterson Show on WWAY. That’s 11am on Sunday. Watch Buzz & Mike Vaccaro analyze Saturday’s win. Don’t forget about the Coach’s Corner on WWAY. That’s 6pm on Sunday on WWAY. The Coach’s Corner will feature an in-depth interview with NBA record holder Chucky Brown on Sunday. Chucky sat courtside at Trask Coliseum on Saturday. Find out why Chucky watched the Seahawks Saturday night on Sunday’s Coach’s Corner.

article courtesy UNCW Sports Information

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