Seahawks win 2OT thriller - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Seahawks win 2OT thriller

UNCW Press Release

WILMINGTON, North Carolina – Graduate guard Ben Eblen swished a three-pointer – his only basket of the game – with 40 seconds left in the second overtime to lift UNCW past the College of Charleston, 57-55, in a Homecoming Game thriller Saturday at Trask Coliseum.

The Seahawks snapped a two-game losing streak and won the 14th double overtime game in school history to improve to 9-21 overall and 3-12 in the Colonial Athletic Association.

The Cougars, making their first appearance at Trask Coliseum as a CAA member, fell to 14-15 and 6-8 after leading by as many as 10 points in the second half.

Senior forward Shane Reybold recorded his second career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds to spark the Seahawks. Redshirt sophomore Dylan Sherwood chipped in 11 points off  the bench for his third double digit game in the last five outings.

Nori Johnson had the hot hand in the first meeting between the two teams, scoring a game-high 23 points in a 75-70 win last month in Charleston, and the senior guard from Greer, S.C., heated up again. He led the Cougars with 15 points, while junior forward Adjehi Baru scored 13 and senior forward Willis Hall collected a double-double of 10 points and 10 boards.

The Seahawks managed a split in the regular season series and played their second straight overtime game against the Cougars in Wilmington. UNCW also outlasted Charleston, 98-91, in overtime on Nov. 10, 2007.

In this one, however, defense was the order of the day. UNCW shot 33.3 percent on 20-of-60 field goals, including just 1-of-11 in sudden death, and Charleston didn't fare much better, connecting on 36.8 percent on 21-of-57 and 1-of-7 in the extra periods.

Charleston led 51-49 near the end of regulation and appeared in position to sweep the series until Reybold tipped in a miss with at the buzzer to send the game into overtime. Neither team scored in the first OT period and the outcome still appeared in limbo before Eblen gave the Seahawks the separation they needed.

The Seahawks worked the ball around on the wing and with the shot clock winding down, Eblen sank only his third triple of the season from the top of the key to put UNCW in front, 56-55. Charleston called a timeout, but missed a jumper with 10 seconds left and Craig Ponder rebounded the loose ball. Sherwood snagged a pass, was fouled and made the second of two free throws to nail down the wild win.

Charleston forged out to a 23-18 lead at halftime and was well on its way to a key road victory before UNCW rallied to put out the improbable win.

Charleston appeared in control midway through the final period when Johnson was fouled attempted a three-ball in front of the Charleston bench and drained all three free throws to extend the Cougars' lead to 10 points, 38-28, with 9:31 on the clock.

Charleston was out front, 49-41, when the Seahawks came alive. Led by Ponder, UNCW reeled off eight straight points and the Bluefield, W.Va., product sank a pair of free throws with 1:39 remaining to draw the game even at 49-all.

Charleston's Anthony Stitt then came up with a clutch jumper from close range with 1:30 left to give the Cougars a 51-49 edge. The two teams missed field goal attempts and when Hall's trifecta try from the right corner was off the mark, the Seahawks grabbed the rebound and called timeout with 13.3 records left, setting up Reybold's heroics in regulation.

The two teams started slowly before Charleston inched out to a 16-8 advantage on Canyon Barry's triple from the right wing to give the Cougars a working margin midway through the first period. UNCW, meanwhile went 2-of-13 in the opening minutes for an early deficit against its regional rival.

Still trailing 18-10, the Seahawks scored six straight points and Sherwood scored two straight buckets to chop the lead to 18-16. Sherwood's putback at 4:16 kept the Seahawks within striking distance early.

Johnson then banked in a three-pointer at the end of the shot clock and added a layup to give Charleston a 23-16 lead at 1:41 The Cougars then carried a 23-18 lead into the break after holding the Seahawks to 33.3 percent shooting in the opening period.

GAME NOTES: The Seahawks did not make a three-pointer in the first half...It was the first double overtime game in Buzz Peterson's 16-year career…The two teams combined for 8-of-37 from long distance…UNCW won the rebounding battle, 41-40…The Seahawks had five blocks and eight steals in the contest…UNCW's largest lead in the game was just two points…The attendance of 4,047 was the largest of the season…Five Seahawks had at least five points…UNCW's bench outscored Charleston's, 31-4…The Seahawks had not played a double overtime game since Jan. 24, 2009.

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