NEWARK, Dela. – Freshman guard Mark Matthews poured in a career-high 18 points and junior center C.J. Gettys added a career-best 15 points as UNCW routed Delaware, 85-67, in Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball action Saturday at the Bob Carpenter Center.
The Seahawks, 10-5 overall and 2-2 in the CAA, snapped a two-game skid and seven-game losing streak at the Bob Carpenter Center. It was UNCW’s first win in Newark since a 71-58 victory on Jan. 5, 2006.
“It was the most energy our guys have brought into a game since the non-conference part of the season,” said Kevin Keatts, who avenged an 11-point loss to the Blue Hens last February at the Bob. “I was happy with our effort. We came out at the beginning of the game and played with energy. We have depth and I like the way this team is shaping up.”
The Blue Hens were saddled with their seventh consecutive loss and freefalled to 5-10 and 0-5. The 18-point victory was UNCW’s largest victory margin in 13 appearances in the 5,000-seat venue.
Matthews, out of Ft. Myers, Fla., scored 13 of his career total in the first half and wound up canning 7-of-11 field goals and 4-of-5 from deep to pace the Seahawks for the first time this season. Junior guard Chris Flemmings and senior guard Craig Ponder contributed 16 points apiece and Gettys scored nine of his career-high 15 points in the second half.
Senior forward Marvin King-Davis exploded for 29 points for Delaware, the most points scored by an individual this season vs. the Seahawks. He went 8-of-11 from the floor and added 13-of-15 at the free throw line for the Blue Hens, who went 30-of-39 at the charity stripe. Freshman point guard Anthony Moseley scored 15 points and sophomore guard Kory Holden chipped in 13 more.
The Seahawks shook off a slow start to shoot better than 50 percent for the third time this season with a 53 percent aim on 35-of-66 at the Bob. The Blue Hens managed just 39.1 percent and 76.9 percent at the line, but couldn’t overcome a season-high 20 turnovers caused by UNCW’s ball-hawking defense.
The Seahawks rode a big first half from Matthews to a 41-30 advantage at intermission and withstood a furious rally by the Blue Hens before pulling away down the stretch.
Delaware, which committed 13 turnovers to trail by 11 points at the break, opened the second half with a flurry and scored eight of the first 10 points of the final half to close the gap to 43-38 on a bank shot by King-Davis at 16:46.
But the Seahawks responded in a big way, staging a suffocating 18-1 run to hike the score back to double digits and sink the Blue Hens in a hole once again.
With UNCW leading, 48-39, the Seahawks scored 13 consecutive points, capped by a bucket from Gettys, and pushed the margin back to 61-39 with 12:19 on the clock. Gettys later gave UNCW its largest lead of the game, 79-54, when the Ohio native made another layup for his sixth bucket of the contest.
After making two of their first seven field goal attempts in the game, the Seahawks got untracked and reeled off 13 unanswered points to strike early against the Blue Hens.
Reserve guard Devonne Pinkard made the first of two free throws to cut UNCW’s lead to 8-5 at 13:27, but Matthews keyed the 13-point spurt with his hot hand and a layup by Flemmings staked the Seahawks to a 21-5 cushion. Matthews wound up connecting on 5-of-6 field goals in the opening period and made all three of his three-point attempts for 13 points, just two shy of his career high.
The margin swelled to 19 points, 30-11, on another Flemmings bucket before the Hens cashed in at the free throw line to stay close.
UD converted 14-of-16 at the charity stripe to climb within 11 points at the end of the period, including a perfect 5-of-5 from Moseley at the line. Holden’s jumper with two seconds left in the first half kept the Blue Hens within striking distance.
The Seahawks complete a three-game conference road swing on Thursday by visiting Elon for a 7 p.m. tip-off at Alumni Gym. The Blue Hens continue their three-game home stand with a 7 p.m. matchup on Thursday against longtime rival Towson.
GAME NOTES: The Seahawks lead the all-time series by a 18-11 margin…Coach Kevin Keatts went with his 12th different starting lineup of the season…Craig Ponder had his string of 10 consecutive starts snapped…Kevin Keatts now stands 15-9 in CAA games and 6-5 in conference road games in two seasons with the Seahawks…The Seahawks are 7-9 against UD skipper Monte’ Ross since he joined the Blue Hens in 2006-07…UD committed 13 turnovers and the Seahawks scored 17 points off those miscues in the opening stanza…Jordon Talley and Denzel Ingram had seven assists each for the Seahawks…The Seahawks were outscored at the free throw line, 30-8…Freshman point guard Anthony Moseley played all 40 minutes for the Blue Hens…UNCW scored 52 points in the paint and 40 more off the bench.