Mann, Payton seal victory
February 13, 2007
For the first time in 13 years, the Tribe defeated the University of North Carolina-Wilmington Seahawks on the road, 61-55, Saturday night. The College’s win improved its record to 14-11 overall and 7-8 in the CAA. With the win over UNCW, the team becomes just the ninth in school history to amass 14 Division I victories in a season.
p. “I couldn’t be happier for this team. To come in this place on Homecoming weekend and get a win is pretty special,” Head Coach Tony Shaver said in a post-game radio interview.
The College spoiled UNCW’s homecoming game thanks in large part to the efforts of junior guard Nathan Mann. He matched his career-high with 25 points and has now reached double figures in four consecutive contests. His 18 second-half points allowed the Tribe to take the lead and hold on for victory.
p. Trailing 27-29 at the half, the College retook the lead for good with 17 minutes, 19 seconds remaining on senior guard Adam Payton’s layup. The Tribe’s lead was tenuous the rest of the way. After Mann’s fourth three-pointer of the game pushed the College’s lead to seven at 51-44, it appeared that the Tribe was going to pull away, but UNCW responded with a 10-3 run to tie the score at 54-54 with 3:22 left. The teams traded empty possessions until Mann’s jumper broke the tie at the 2:08 mark. UNCW had its chance to tie the game when Tribe sophomore forward Peter Stein sent the Seahawks’ Vladimir Kuljanin to the foul line with just under a minute left.
p. Kuljanin stepped to the line and missed both free throws. The Tribe, however, could not capitalize and committed a turnover. Seahawks’ Head Coach Benny Moss called a timeout with 29 seconds remaining in order to set up a final play, but after the timeout, Payton stole the ball from UNCW’s Todd Hendley and was fouled. Payton’s two free throws pushed the Tribe’s lead to 58-54 with 18 seconds left. The College gave the Seahawks another chance when Mann fouled Montez Downey as he attempted a three-pointer; however, Downey converted only one of three free throws and Mann sealed the Tribe’s victory with two free throws.
p. The College will look to add to its win total when the Drexel University Dragons visit Kaplan Arena tomorrow at 7 p.m. Drexel is riding a three-game CAA winning streak, including an impressive road victory at Hofstra University. Additionally, the Dragons have won several tough non-conference games against Big East Conference foes Syracuse University and Villanova University. The Tribe has never defeated Drexel in conference play, but after two consecutive road victories, the College will be ready for the challenge.