RICHMOND, Kentucky – The UNCW men's basketball team was a very good road team during its CAA championship run in 2015-16 and the Seahawks continued that trend Monday night in their first visit away from home in the new season.
Senior guard Chris Flemmings and sophomore forward Devontae Cacok each recorded double doubles and the Seahawks outscored host Eastern Kentucky, 15-6, in overtime to claim a 78-69 decision Monday night at Alumni Coliseum.
"It was a great road win and a good character win for us," said third-year Head Coach Kevin Keatts, who remained perfect in extra time games at 7-0. "Some guys stepped up when we need them to and we just found a way to win. We had a couple breakdowns, but you have to win all types of games."
Sophomore guard C.J. Bryce led all scorers with 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Flemmings finished with 18 points and 10 boards and Cacok had 12 points and 13 caroms.
Sophomore forward Nick Mayo paced three EKU players in double figures with 20 points.
The Seahawks led by as many as 17 points early and missed a shot at the end of regulation to win the game. But a strong effort in the extra period, including clutch offensive rebounding, propelled the team to its first road win of the new season.
After battling to a 63-all tie in the first 40 minutes, EKU scored the first bucket of the overtime period. The Seahawks scored 15 of the next 17 points, however, to put the game away and head back to Wilmington unbeaten in two outings.
EKU led briefly, 7-6, in the first five minutes before the Seahawks started clicking behind Bryce. After a steal and layup by Bryce gave UNCW a 10-9 edge, the Seahawks used a 17-2 run to break the game open.
Reserve center Chuck Ogbodo came off the bench to start the rally with a pair of inside buckets and a runner on the left wing by JaQuel Richmond gave the Seahawks a 28-11 cushion with 7:23 left in the first half.
The Colonels rallied over the last seven minutes of the opening period to pull within 34-24 at halftime. Mayo broke into the scoring column with five minutes on the clock and had six points in the spurt as EKU chipped away at UNCW's margin.
An alley oop to Cacok helped UNCW to a 34-22 advantage before Parker Chitty converted both ends of a bonus situation to get the Colonels within 10 points at the break.
The Colonels trailed for the entire second half before pulling finally pulling even at 63-all on a pair of free throws by Zach Charles with 25.1 seconds on the clock. The Seahawks had a chance to win it in regulation, but Denzel Ingram's jumper in front of the Seahawk bench rimmed out as time expired.
Freshman guard Asante Gist the gave the Colonels their first lead since 15:09 of the first half with two free throws just 18 seconds into overtime until the Seahawks went on their decisive spurt.
The Seahawks return to the floor on Sunday when East Tennessee State visits Trask Coliseum for the second home game in a 3 p.m. tip-off.