Seahawks Open Keatts Era with visit to former CAA Rival

By / Local Sports / الأربعاء, 19 تشرين2/نوفمبر 2014 05:00

The curtain rises on the Kevin Keatts era and the  63rd season of intercollegiate basketball at UNCW on Saturday against a familiar  opponent  – former Colonial Athletic Association rival Old Dominion.  The Seahawks and Keatts, the former Louisville associate head coach who took  over the helm of the program back on April 1, battle the Monarchs in a 7 p.m.  tip-off at the sparkling Ted Constant Center in Norfolk, Va.  
 A free audio broadcast of the game will be carried on the Seahawk Digital  Network through and live in-game tweets will be circulated on the  team’s official Twitter feed @UNCWmenshoops.  
“I’m excited, but I’m even more excited for our players,” said Keatts, the 10th  head coach in the school’s history. “They have a great opportunity with this  game. Everybody is working hard and we’re getting there.”  Keatts has revamped a team that fashioned a 9-23 record last season and returns  seven lettermen, including senior veterans Freddie Jackson, Addison Spruill and  Cedrick Williams. Williams is the team’s returning scorer (11.5 ppg) and  rebounder (6.6 rpg), while Jackson and Spruill logged significant minutes in  their junior years.  The game is the first of four straight road tests for the Seahawks to kick off  the new season. UNCW travels to UNC Greensboro (Nov. 18), VMI (Nov. 22) and  Davidson (Nov. 29) before finding its way back to Trask Coliseum for the home  opener on Dec. 3 vs. St. Andrews.  “I think we’re going to call our road games home games,” Keatts kidded. “We’ll  use mind tricks and tell the guys we’re actually playing at home.”  The Seahawks broke away from NCAA Division II Catawba in the second half last  Saturday for a 97-68 verdict over the Indians at Trask Coliseum. Freshman guard  Malik Pugh (Dyer County HS/Dyersburg, Tenn.) anchored six players in double  figures with 20 points in his first collegiate appearance.  UNCW won its 27th consecutive exhibition game and ran its record to 44-5 in  preseason tune-ups with the convincing win before 3,046 Seahawk faithful.  ODU and second-year coach Jeff Jones will be a formidable foe for the Seahawks,  who were picked ninth in the CAA preseason poll ahead of Elon. The Monarchs went  18-18 last season and reached the finals of the College Basketball Invitational  Tournament.  ODU played its lone exhibition Monday night and easily beat Mount Olive, 76-61,  behind 17 points apiece from senior forward Richard Ross and sophomore guard  Ambrose Moseley. Jones and his club led by nine points at halftime and shot 55.2  percent in the second half to top the Trojans.  “We’re taking on a very good, well-coached team,” Keatts noted. “ODU won 18  games last season and has been picked to finish third or fourth in their  conference by most publications. They execute their stuff and do a very good  job. It’s a tough place to play, and we just have to be prepared.”  Since its opening in 2002, the Constant Center has been a “House of Horrors”   for the Seahawks. UNCW is making its 10th appearance in the 8,472-seat venue and  stands just 1-8 in nine outings there, with the lone win coming on Jan. 30,  2008.  Saturday marks the 50th clash between the two schools. ODU leads the all-time  series, 30-19, and has won eight of the last 10 meetings and four in a row in  Norfolk.  The contest is the first of three road games in an eight-day stretch for UNCW,  which renews its rivalry with state rival UNCG on Tuesday at the Greensboro  Coliseum.  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 Tickets can also be purchased by calling the UNCW Athletic  Ticket Office at 910-962-3233 or 1-800-808-UNCW.  


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