Highlanders beat UNCW men at the buzzer 69-67

Highlanders beat UNCW men at the buzzer 69-67

UNCW Press Release

RADFORD, Virginia – Kion Brown's soft hook shot in the paint bounced three times and rolled in to lift host Radford over UNCW, 69-67, in a non-conference men's basketball matinee Saturday at the Demon Center.

Radford, returning to the floor following a seven-day break, won its second straight game to improve to 7-5 this season. UNCW lost it's third in a row and stands 5-3 after three consecutive road losses.

After UNCW redshirt senior guard Craig Ponder tied the game at 67-all on an acrobatic layup with 18 ticks left, Radford worked the ball into Brown and the lanky senior forward from Richmond connected from close range over a flock of Seahawks.

"It was a tough shot and it was very unfortunate to lose that way," said Kevin Keats, UNCW's second-year head coach. "We knew they would try to get the ball into Kino and we did a good job of defending him. I'm proud of the way our guys played. We've lost three tough games and they've all been on the road."

Brown, a 6-7, 210-pound hook shot specialist, led all scorers in the contest with 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting – almost all in the lane around the bucket. Senior guard Taj Owens was the only other player in double figures for Radford with 16 points.

Junior guard Chris Flemings paced UNCW in scoring for the sixth time in seven games with 16 points and added eight rebounds. Three other Seahawks – C.J. Bryce (14), Ponder (10) and Jordon Talley (10) – reached double digits to give UNCW four in double figures. Bryce's total matched his career high set in a win at East Tennessee State on Nov. 28.

Leading 34-31 at the break, UNCW scored the first six points of the final period to jump ahead by nine points at the 17:08 mark before Radford battled back to take a 65-58 lead with 3:19 remaining when Owens converted both ends of a bonus situation.

But the Seahawks rallied in the final minutes with a 7-0 run and caught the Highlanders at 65-all on a Flemings layup down the middle of the lane with just over a minute to play.

Brown then lofted in a hook shot with 35 seconds on the clock to put the Highlanders on top, 67-65, before Ponder knifed through the lane for his game-tying layup, setting up another Brown hook shot that proved the game-winner.

The Seahawks inched out to a 34-31 edge at halftime behind the play of Bryce, who scored 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting the opening 20 minutes. The Charlotte product was just two points short of matching his career high in the first half.

With the score knotted at 12-all, the Seahawks strung together eight unanswered points and Bryce's driving layup staked UNCW to a 20-12 advantage with 7:50 remaining in the first half.

The margin was still 24-16 when the Highlanders bounced back to close the gap to 24-23 with a 7-0 spurt. A stop-and-pop jumper by Cameron Jones at 3:51 brought the Highlanders within one point with just less than four minutes left in the first period.

Bryce continued his stellar play in the final four minutes of the stanza and the Seahawks carried a 34-31 edge into the break after dishing out seven assists on 14 baskets.

UNCW shot 42.6 percent on the day, connecting on 26-of-61 field goals, but struggled again from deep, hitting just 2-of-13 three-point attempts. The Seahawks won the battle of the boards against the BSC's best offensive rebounding club, 42-37.

The Seahawks next head over to Louisville, Ky., to participate in Louisville's Billy Monardo Classic on Tuesday (Dec. 22) and Wednesday (Dec. 23) at the KFC Yum! Center. UNCW faces Utah Valley of the Western Athletic Conference on Tuesday in a 6:15 p.m. tip-off.

GAME NOTES: The Highlanders evened the series at 4-all…The two teams have each won on their home court in the eight-game set….Chuck Gboro, Craig Ponder and Chris Flemings shared rebounding honors with seven caroms each…The Seahawks, who were whistled for 35 personal fouls in Wednesday's loss at East Carolina, had only 14 fouls called on them early Saturday…UNCW stands 117-81 against Big South Conference schools lifetime…Kevin Keats is now 10-10 against non-conference opponents in two seasons…The Seahawks are 174-198 against Virginia opponents…The Seahawks are 1-3 in December...The two teams will play against next season in Wilmington…UNCW held Rashaan Davis, Radford's leading scorer at 14.5 pig, to four points…Radford snapped a four-game slide against CAA foes….There were seven ties and eight lead changes in the contest, which was played before 1,064 fans.