WILMINGTON, NC (UNCW) — The UNCW-Campbell men’s basketball rivalry completes its 10th decade early Tuesday when the two longtime foes meet for the 100th time at the orange and black John W. Pope, Jr., Convocation Center in the bucolic hamlet of Buies Creek.
Both teams bring two-game winning streaks into the 2 p.m. tip-off. UNCW is coming off consecutive victories over Liberty (73-70, OT) and East Carolina (66-54), while Campbell has notched back-to-back wins against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville (70-65) and NAIA member Montreat (90-64).
“We’re walking around with a lot of confidence right now and everybody’s happy,” said Kevin Keatts, UNCW’s first-year coach. “Our guys have done a very good job with scouting reports, but this is a new game.
“What makes this game tough is the fact that Campbell runs the Princeton offense. When you play teams like Campbell, you’d like to have three or four days to prepare. They run a lot of back door cuts and they make you pay for every mistake. It’s a difficult offense to prepare for in a short amount of time.”
The Seahawks turned in an outstanding performance with Saturday’s 12-point decision over East Carolina. UNCW held the Pirates to just 28.1 percent shooting and blocked a season-high 11 shots to win their second in a row over their neighbors to the north.
The Seahawks controlled the offensive side of the game all night behind double figure scorers Freddie Jackson (14 points), Craig Ponder (12 points) and Addison Spruill (11 points). Jackson, a local product out of New Hanover High School, added 10 rebounds to register his second double-double of the campaign.
“We have a very good mixture right now between two-point baskets and the three-point game,” added Keatts. “We haven’t fallen in love with the three-pointer and we have a good balance right now.”
The 6-4, 185-pound Jackson has elevated his game this season and leads the team in scoring with 17.0 ppg. He has reached double figures in seven of eight outings while shooting 52.9 percent from the field and 43.8 percent from deep. Ponder (11.9 ppg) and Spruill (11.6) are backing up Jackson in the scoring column.
“Freddie’s stepped up to the challenge,” Keatts said. “He’s been our most consistent player so far. He’s matured as a basketball player. He wants to have a winning season and would certainly love to win a CAA championship.”
The Camels, led by second-year Head Coach Kevin McGeehan, have won four of their last five games and crushed Montreat by nearly 30 points on Saturday. Campbell is 4-1 at home and also features three players in double figures: D.J. Mason (13.5 ppg), Reco McCarter (10.6 ppg), Kyre’ Hamer (10.0 ppg).
Keatts said the Seahawks will need another stellar defensive effort to keep the Camels from extending their home winning streak to four games. McGeehan’s team is averaging 6.8 treys each contest and senior wing Andrew Ryan has connected on 22 trifectas.
“We’re turning into a very good defensive team. I’m excited about the way we’re defending. We’ve done a tremendous job of defending the three-point line (opponents are shooting 31.7 percent). Our communication is getting better and we’re not giving up open looks.”
UNCW leads the all-time series with the Camels, 57-42, and owns a 37-11 advantage since the two schools began NCAA Division I play in 1976-77. The rejuvenated Seahawks are seeking their first win at the Pope Center following close losses on Dec. 22, 2010 (57-56) and Dec. 29, 2012 (72-60).
After Tuesday’s pre-Christmas clash, the Seahawks break briefly for the holiday before taking on Big Ten Conference foe Minnesota on Saturday in a 1 p.m. (EST) test at historic Williams Arena.
An audio broadcast of Tuesday’s clash can be heard for free on the Seahawk Digital Network via UNCWsports.com. Fans should click on the “Live Events” button on the top right-hand corner of the main page and follow the prompts. A 15-minute pregame show kicks off the coverage followed by first-half coverage, a 15-minute halftime show, second-half action and a 15-minute post-game show.
Live-in game updates are also available on Twitter by following @UNCWmenshoops.
Season tickets remain on sale for UNCW’s home schedule and may be purchased at the UNCW Athletics Ticket Office in Trask Coliseum or by visiting UNCWsports.com. Tickets can also be purchased by calling the UNCW Athletic Ticket Office at 910-962-3233 or 1-800-808-UNCW.
WILMINGTON, NC (UNCW) — WILMINGTON, North Carolina – Senior guard Kelva Atkins (Granville Central H.S./Stem, N.C.) of the UNCW women’s basketball team has been named as a co-recipient of the Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Week award for the week ending Dec. 21, it has been announced by CAA officials.
Atkins, who was also named as the CAA Player of the Week by College Sports Madness, shared the award with junior guard Precious Hall of James Madison University.
In leading the Seahawks to a 2-1 record last week, Atkins averaged 25.3 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. She also made 27 of 51 (.529) field goal attempts while contributing nine assists and four steals.
After scoring 17 points in the Seahawks’ loss against Richmond on Wednesday night, Atkins led UNCW to a pair of victories at the Seahawks Hampton Inn Christmas Invitational. She tallied 19 points with 9 rebounds in a 61-48 victory over East Tennessee State before erupting for a career-high 40 points with 10 rebounds in an 80-70 triumph against Charleston Southern.
In the victory over Charleston Southern, Atkins made 14 of 19 shots from the floor and scored 24 of her 40 points in the second half. With 16.2 seconds remaining, she converted a pair of free throws to complete her record-setting effort and make her the 16th player in UNCW history with 1,000 career points.
With her 40-point effort, Atkins tied the school single-game scoring record set by Tressa Reese at Charleston Southern on Feb. 13, 1991. In addition, she also scored the most points by any player (men’s or women’s) in a game in the 38-season history of Trask Coliseum.
One of seven players in NCAA Division I to score 40 or more points in a game this season, Atkins is the first CAA player to score 40 or more points in a game since Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne tallied 42 points against Hofstra during the 2011-12 season.
“I thought Kelva was special for us on Saturday,” Coach Adell Harris said. “Playing her third game in four days, she found the energy to score 40 points while also getting her team to earn the win. It could not have happened to a better person and I am happy I have had the chance to coach her.”
Atkins, who was named as the CAA Player of the Week for the second time in her career, is the second-leading scorer in the CAA with a 19.2 average. She also ranks seventh in the CAA with a .740 free throw percentage while her .441 field goal percentage and 6.9 rebounds per game rank 11th in the CAA.
Off to a 4-5 start on the season, Atkins and the Seahawks will be idle until Monday, Dec. 29 when they travel to Florida Atlantic for a 7:00 p.m. non-conference game against the Owls.