The Seahawks opened the season at 3-0 for the second straight season and knocked off the 2-1 Bucs for the second consecutive year after holding the Johnson City, Tenn., club a whopping 42.5 points below its 101.5 ppg scoring average.
Cacok, from Alpharetta, Ga., went 8-for-9 from the floor, including three monster dunks, and added eight rebounds as UNCW shot 48.2 percent on the day. CAA Preseason Player-of-the-Year Chris Flemmingsregistered his sixth career double-double with 15 points and 11 boards, sophomore guard C.J. Bryce collected 12 points and redshirt sophomore guard JaQuel Richmond contributed 12 points.
Senior guard T.J. Cromer paced ETSU with a game-high 22 points and junior forward Hanner Mosquera finished with 10.
UNCW erased an early deficit with a big spurt midway through the first half to forge out to a 35-23 lead at intermission before holding off several ETSU rallies down the stretch to take a 6-5 edge in the all-time series.
In the first 20 minutes, Cacok and Flemmings did most of the damage, scoring 10 points apiece and snaring 10 of the team's 14 rebounds for a 35-23 lead at halftime.
The Buccaneers took advantage of UNCW's sluggish start early in the game to grab a quick 6-2 edge before the Seahawks, behind Flemmings, got untracked. Trailing 8-4, the Seahawks took their first lead of the contest on a put back by Cacok and back-to-back buckets by the athletic Flemmings.
UNCW still trailed, 13-12, with nine minutes to go in the first half before creating some separation with a 14-2 run over a four-minute stretch. The active Cacok played a big role in the rally, scoring three consecutive baskets, and a free throw by Flemmings with 4:34 remaining in the opening period gave the Seahawks a 26-15 cushion.
In the second half, the Seahawks extended the margin to 18 points by scoring the first six points of the second half, capped by an offensive rebound and bucket by Flemings as the margin ballooned to 41-23 at 18:17.
But ETSU responded with an 8-0 run and closed the gap to seven points, 52-45, on a layup by reserve forward Issac Banks at the 10:12 mark. The Bucs then sliced the lead to five points, 61-56, when A.J. Merriweather scored with just over four minutes left.
But the Seahawks answered with a Richmond free throw and a clutch three-ball by Flemmings along the left wing to get the lead back to 65-56 before raising Kevin Keatts' home record to 24-4 in three seasons.
The Seahawks return to the floor later this week when they travel to Nashville, Tenn., to participate in the Challenge In Music City. UNCW opens the three-day event with a Friday contest at 8:30 p.m. vs. Middle Tennessee State at the Nashville Auditorium.
GAME NOTES: Senior guard Denzel Ingram dished out a game-high six assists for UNCW…The Seahawks had eight blocks…ETSU doubled up UNCW on the offensive glass, 14-7…Cacok added four blocks to his stat line…The teams combined for 82 points in the paint…The game featured three ties and three lead changes…ETSU missed nine free throws in 13 attempts...The Seahawks now stand 21-16 all-time vs. the Southern Conference…With 4,032 fans in attendance, the Seahawks have drawn more than 4,000 fans in each of their first two home games…ETSU started four seniors in the matinee.