UNCW men's basketball falls at East Carolina

UNCW men's basketball falls at East Carolina

UNCW Press Release

GREENVILLE, North Carolina –  East Carolina outscored UNCW at the free throw line 35-14 to turn back the Seahawks, 78-73, in the 63rd men's basketball meeting between the two state rivals on Wednesday night at Minges Coliseum.

The Pirates improved to 7-4 on the season and won for the sixth time at home without a loss. The Seahawks dropped their second in a row after opening the season with five consecutive wins.

"Give them credit, they wanted the game more than we did," said second-year UNCW Head Coach Kevin Keatts. "They made the plays down the stretch and that was the difference."

ECU sophomore guard B.J. Tyson led all scorers with 21 points and junior forward Caleb White chipped in 20. Freshman forward Kentrell Barkley chipped in 15 and senior forward Michael Zangari added 11 for the Pirates, who shot 45.4 percent on the night.

Junior guard Chris Flemmings paced three Seahawks in double digits with 16 points. Redshirt senior guard Craig Ponder collected 14 and sophomore guard Jordon Talley scored 13.

In a game that featured numerous whistles, the Pirates used their decided advantage at the charity stripe to snap a two-game losing streak to their rivals from the south. The two teams combined for five technical fouls, 55 personal fouls and marched to the free throw line 77 times in the contest.

In the end, ECU scored consistently at close range and capitalized on UNCW's cold shooting against an effective 2-3 zone to hold off the Seahawks. And the Pirates wound up connecting on 35-of-51 free throws in a parade to the charity stripe.

The Seahawks led for much of the contest before the Pirates finally caught up midway through the second half and gaining the lead for good at the 10-minute mark.

After forging out to a 39-34 lead at the break, the Seahawks scored the first two buckets of the final period to extend their margin to nine points. A layup by graduate forward Dylan Sherwood gave the Seahawks a 43-34 lead with 17:35 remaining.

The game was still tied at 51-all when ECU scored seven unanswered points to gain some separation. Zangari had the big bucket in the spurt, a three-ball from the top of the key that delivered a 58-51 lead for the Pirates at 9:05.

UNCW closed to 66-63 on Ponder's floater in the lane with 4:05 remaining, but the Pirates scored four straight to get the lead back to 70-63 before Flemmings had a three-point play with 27 ticks left to slice the lead to 73-70.

The Pirates closed out the win, however, by draining five consecutive free throws in the final 26 seconds for the win.

Sherwood lifted UNCW to an early 21-14 advantage before Barkley got going. A freshman from Durham, N.C., Barkley strung together seven straight points and converted a conventional three-point play at 8:27 to pull the Pirates even at 21-all.

Flemmings scored on back-to-back possessions to cap a 9-0 run that pushed the margin to 32-23 with 5:03 left in the first half and the lead swelled to 11 points, 38-27, on a transition dunk by Flemmings with 2:36 on the clock.

ECU got back into it, however, by cashing in at the free throw line. The Pirates went 8-of-9 over the final 2:13 to pull within 39-34 at intermission.

The Seahawks carry their 5-2 record a 4 p.m. tip-off on Saturday at Radford. The contest marks the third leg in a five-game road swing away from Wilmington.

GAME NOTES: The Seahawks forced 16 turnovers on the night….UNCW went 3-for-25 from three-point range…UNCW outrebounded ECU, 35-20, and topped ECU on the offensive boards, 14-4…Chris Flemmings led the Seahawks with four assists…UNCW had 15 second-chance points to none for ECU…Six Seahawks finished with four or more personal fouls…The Seahawks shot 50 percent from the field in the first half and dipped to 33.3 percent in the second half..The game had six ties and 11 lead changes…It marked the first time two opposing players had scored 20 or more points against the Seahawks since a loss at Delaware on Feb. 23, 2013.