UNCW Press Release
PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania – It was too much Damion Lee once again for the Seahawks early Saturday as the Drexel junior guard matched the 32 points he scored against UNCW just 21 days ago to spark the Dragons to an 85-76 Colonial Athletic Association men's basketball decision at the Daskalakis Center.
The Seahawks, 12-9 overall and 7-3 in the CAA, fell out of first place in the league with William & Mary's 84-65 road victory at James Madison. UNCW travels to Harrisonburg, Va., on Wednesday to battle the Dukes in the second leg of a two-game road trip.
"It was a carbon copy of the game at our place," Kevin Keatts, UNCW's first-year coach, said of Saturday's loss to the Dragons. UNCW shot 52.4 percent from the floor in a 64-57 win over Drexel in the first meeting between the two teams back on Jan. 10 in Wilmington. "The only difference was some other guys from Drexel were pretty good tonight."
The talented Lee, the CAA's leading scorer at 21.2 points per game, did his part, connecting on 10-of-14 from the floor and 10-of-11 at the free throw line for his game-high total. He also added a career-high 13 rebounds for the second double-double of his career and dished out three assists in playing the entire game.
Lee got help this time from three other players in double figures: freshman guard Sammy Mojica (17), junior forward Tavon Allen (13) and sophomore forward Rodney Williams (13). The hot-shooting Dragons shot 61.9 percent in the second half en route to 60.4 percent for the game.
Redshirt junior guard Craig Ponder paced the Seahawks in scoring for the fourth time this season with 22 points. Senior guard Addison Spruill collected 19 points and five rebounds and freshman guard Jordon Talley had 16 for UNCW.
The scrappy Dragons fell behind early before closing out the first half with an 18-4 run for a 43-35 lead to gain control. Drexel then led by as many as 19 points late in the second half before surviving a late charge by the Seahawks to earn a split of the regular season series between the two teams.
"Overall, as a team we just couldn't get stops where we need to," Keatts added. We've been a team that's been able to get stops, but today we just couldn't get them. You have to give Drexel credit, they were pretty good. They were very good offensively and they made a lot of tough shots today. They were more efficient at free throw line than we were. We were right in the game and 76 points is usually enough to win a game, but we gave up 85 points.
"We had a bad defensive game and teams have that. It usually happens on the road. We didn't have it on the defensive end tonight. We weren't great defensively, but give them credit. They made a lot of tough shots."
The contest was still hanging in the balance with less than 14 minutes left to play when a free throw by Spruill sliced Drexel's lead to 53-49 at the 13:20 mark.
But the Dragons went on a 19-5 tear to build a 72-54 cushion and a massive dunk by Williams – his third of the game – pushed the margin to 74-55 with 5:30 remaining.
UNCW attempted a late comeback, chopping the deficit to 76-70 on Talley's triple with 1:49 showing, until the Dragons pieced together another 9-2 spurt to put the Seahawks away.
Led by Ponder and Spruill, the Seahawks started quickly and Spruill's steal and layup with just over 10 minutes left in the first half staked UNCW to an early 16-11 advantage.
The Seahawks still led, 31-25, at 5:47 when Spruill connected on a spinning jumper in the lane before the Dragons finished the first half with a flourish.
Freshman Rashann London made a steal and layup to cap an 8-0 spurt for the Dragons and Mojica delivered a rare four-point play on the next trip down the floor as Drexel forged ahead, 37-33. Lee's contested jumper on the right elbow with six seconds left in the first half gave the Dragons a 43-35 lift at intermission.
The Seahawks conclude a two-game road swing on Wednesday, Feb. 4, when they travel to Harrisonburg, Va., for a 7 p.m. matchup against James Madison. The Dragons visit CAA newcomer Elon on Thursday, Feb. 5, for a 7 p.m. rematch with the Phoenix.