UNCW Press Release
ELON, North Carolina. – Junior guard Chris Flemmings exploded for a career-high 28 points and senior guard Craig Ponder poured in 21 as UNCW blew past Elon, 91-82, in Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball Thursday at Alumni Gym.
The Seahawks, one game out of first place in the CAA, won their second straight conference road game and raised their record to11-5 overall and 3-2 in the CAA. The Phoenix dropped their second in a row and stand11-7 and 2-3.
Flemmings led all scorers with his second 20-point game of the season. The Cary, N.C. product connected on 11-of-16 shots and 5-of-9 from long range to spark the Seahawks. Ponder made 8-of-13 field goals en route to his 21-point effort and junior guard Denzel Ingram and junior center C.J. Gettys chipped in 14 and 10.
Junior guard Luke Eddy paced the Phoenix with 21 points in his first game against the Seahawks after missing last season with an injury. Freshman guard Dainan Swoope scored 15, Christian Hairston had 14 and Tyler Seibring and Steven Santa Ana scored 11 apiece for the Phoenix.
“This was a great CAA basketball game,” said UNCW second-year Head Coach Kevin Keatts. “Elon has a very good basketball team and shoots the ball very well. After they cut the lead to two points at halftime, we knew we would have to battle in the second half.
“Chris (Flemmings) shot well in practice and in our shootround and had a tremendous first half. Craig (Ponder) had a great second half. We knew they were going to shoot a lot of three’s and we held them to eight tonight. I’m very proud of our guys.”
UNCW enjoyed one of its best shooting nights of the season and registered season highs in conference play for points (91), three-point field goals (12) and field goal percentage (.557). It marked the fourth time this season the Seahawks eclipsed the 50 percent plateau from the field.
The Seahawks jumped out to a comfortable lead in the opening minutes before carrying a two-point edge into the break and finishing strong down the stretch to knock off the Phoenix for the first time at Alumni Gym in CAA competition.
After taking a 38-26 lead into halftime, the Seahawks spent most of the second half trying to keep the Phoenix at bay before finally gaining some much-needed separation late in the final period.
Leading 68-66 with 5:39 remaining, UNCW, with Flemmings and Ponder doing most of the damage, reeled off 10 unanswered points to stun the Phoenix. Flemmings opened the decisive spurt and then closed the key run with a three-pointer on the right wing that put the Seahawks ahead, 78-66.
The Seahawks then held Elon to layups the rest of the way while spending time at the charity stripe to move to 3-4 on the road this season and 2-1 in CAA away games.
Flemmings knocked down 4-of-5 three-pointers in the first eight minutes to get the Seahawks out of the gate quickly. The Barton transfer’s fourth triple early in the contest gave the Seahawks a 15-7 advantage with 12:40 left in the first half.
UNCW then used a 15-3 run to extend the margin to 30-12, but the Phoenix came alive. The spurt by the Seahawks included a string of 11 straight points, capped by a pair of free throws by Gettys at 7:03 that gave the Seahawks an 18-point bulge.
However, Elon closed the first half with a flurry, outscoring the Seahawks, 17-2, over the final 5:09 to pull back in it. The Phoenix scored the final 11 points of the opening period and Santa-Ana’s deep trifecta from the top of the key closed the gap to 38-36 at intermission.
The Seahawks return home to entertain William & Mary in another CAA test on Saturday in a 2 p.m. tip-off at Trask Coliseum. The Phoenix travel to Charleston on Saturday to meet the Cougars at 7 p.m.
GAME NOTES: The Seahawks evened the series at 7-all…C.J. Gettys had nine rebounds and three blocks in his fifth straight start…The Seahawks are 2-1 against Elon since joined the CAA in 2014-15…The Seahawks stand 3-4 against the Phoenix all-time at Alumni Gym…Elon won the battle of the boards, 37-30…Denzel Ingram added team-highs of five assists and three steals to his stat line…UNCW scored 40 points in the paint…Elon led in the game for just 14 seconds…UNCW is 2-3 against Elon in January…Coach Kevin Keatts used his 12th different starting lineup in 16 games this season…UNCW has 13 games remaining in the regular season, including seven at Trask Coliseum.