Dragons Advance to Semis

March 3, 2012   ·   0 Comments

By Cody Norman

Drexel 59, UNCW 47

Keith Rendleman cannot remember a game – from recreational ball through college – during which he did not record a single rebound.

Photo Credit: Stephen Kline

Entering Saturday afternoon’s showdown with the conference’s top seed, the Drexel Dragons, Rendleman was averaging a league-best 11.2 rebounds per game for the UNCW Seahawks. At 6-foot-7, his length and athleticism baffled opponents throughout the Colonial Athletic Association as the junior forward turned in double-double performances on a consistent basis.

Against the Dragons, though, Rendleman was held to zero rebounds for the first time in his basketball career.

“This is probably the first game I’ve had like that,” Rendleman said. “I just couldn’t get my hands on the ball today.”

Forced to matchup with Drexel’s 270-pound forward Daryl McCoy, Rendleman was giving up nearly 60 pounds in the post. His 215-pound frame was forced away from the basket on the offensive side, leaving McCoy, Samme Givens and Dartaye Ruffin left in the paint to pile up a combined 22 boards.

“Everybody talks about height,” said Seahawks coach Buzz Peterson. “But it’s the weight in there that makes the big difference. I never thought I’d look down at the stat sheet and see zero rebounds [for Rendleman].”

McCoy finished the game scoring five points and snatching down 10 rebounds, both more than his season averages.

“Daryl has been doing it all year,” said Dragons coach Bruiser Flint. “He doesn’t get any votes for Defensive Player of the Year, but he’s been doing it all year. He does it to big guys in this league just like he did it to Rendleman tonight.”

Led by second-place winner for CAA Player of the Year Frantz Massenat, the Dragons were able to extend their five-point lead at the half and built an 18-point advantage midway through the second half. Massenat scored 11 points and dished out four assists on the afternoon as Drexel won 59-47 and advanced to Sunday afternoon’s semifinals game.

Chris Fouch kept his team afloat in the first half and finished the afternoon with a game-high 14 points on 6-of-14 from the floor.

“My team has a lot of confidence in me,” Fouch said. “I had a good shoot-around yesterday and I had a good warm-up today, so I felt confident going out there. They were able to get me the ball and I just made plays.”

Despite their struggles shooting the basketball, the Dragons turned the ball over just six times and held UNCW to just eight points in the paint.

“It’s conference tournament time,” Flint said. “Everybody is going to be ready, no matter what position they’re in. We know we’ve got to be ready to play or we’re going home.”

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