Early run propels Seahawks to convincing victory

Early run propels Seahawks to convincing victory


UNCW rattled off 23 consecutive points – a school record – to build an early cushion and cruised to a 79-63 victory over Elon in the Colonial Athletic Association men's basketball home opener for the Seahawks on Monday at Trask Coliseum.

The Seahawks improved to 13-2 overall and 2-0 in the CAA with their 10th victory in the last 11 games. The Phoenix now stand 8-7 and 0-2.

Senior guard Chris Flemmings and sophomore guard C.J. Bryce scored 19 points apiece to lead three players in double figures for the Seahawks, who moved to a perfect 6-0 at home. Bryce also added 11 rebounds for his first career double-double and the team's eighth this season.

Senior guard Denzel Ingram also collected 17 points, grabbed four rebounds and dished out six assists to fill up the stat sheet for the Seahawks.

Sophomore forward Tyler Seibring paced the Phoenix with 15 points, while junior forward Brian Dawkins contributed 13 points and seven boards and sophomore guard Dainan Swope pitched in 13.

"Our defense was tremendous the first 10 minutes of the game," said third-year UNCW Head Coach Kevin Keatts. "We totally disrupted them out of everything they did. Our press was special tonight - we had them rush shots that they would normally make.

"We're a very good basketball team and we could be a special basketball team. We have to find a way to keep defending when the shots aren't going in. We came back out with great energy in the second half. We shared the basketball and moved the ball around."

The Seahawks jumped on the Phoenix in the early going, went into halftime with a 34-26 advantage and padded their lead down the stretch to move to 15-4 at home in conference games under Keatts.

UNCW wound up scoring 23 points off 18 Elon turnovers and shot 57.6 percent in the second half to maintain a share of first place in the league.

After building the eight-point edge at the break, the Seahawks still led 39-33 when Bryce keyed a 9-0 run to gain some separation. Bryce had the last two buckets in the spurt and the Charlotte, N.C., product's jumper with 16:10 left staked UNCW to a 48-33 margin.

The Seahawks then enjoyed their largest lead of the contest, 77-56, with 4:12 remaining when the versatile Flemmings soared in for a layup.

Dawkins opened the scoring with a three-pointer on the right wing with 19:02 before the bottom dropped out for the Phoenix.  Elon went 7:06 without a basket, missing 10 consecutive shots, and the Seahawks capitalized on the sluggish start.

Flemmings was the main catalyst in the 21-0 spurt, scoring 11 points in the rally, as the Seahawks took control. He had three triples in the stretch and Bryce converted a pair of free throws at 11:34 to give UNCW a commanding 23-3 lead midway through the first half.

Trailing 28-8 at the 10-minute mark, the Phoenix battled back and used a 10-0 run to climb within 10 points of the hosts. Elon closed out the first period with an 18-5 run and climbed within eight points at intermission.

The Seahawks next embark on a two-game road swing to the Philadelphia area to play Drexel's Dragons on Thursday and the Blue Hens of Delaware on Saturday. Both games are 7 p.m. starts.

Elon, meanwhile, travels to Williamsburg, Va., on Thursday to take on William & Mary in a 7 p.m. clash at Kaplan Arena.
GAME NOTES: Sophomore forward Devontae Cacok grabbed 15 rebounds, including 10 offensive boards… Seahawks lead the all-time series with the Phoenix, 9-7...Kevin Keatts stayed perfect at Trask Coliseum in his CAA home opener…The Seahawks are 4-1 vs. Elon since the Phoenix joined the CAA during the 2014-15 campaign….The Seahawks are 6-0 against Elon at Trask Coliseum…UNCW is 3-0 against North Carolina opponents this season…Kevin Keatts is 15-5 in January and 8-2 in January home games in his three seasons…Devontae Cacok now has 43 dunks this campaign…The two teams only shot a combined 18 free throws in the game.