PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania – Preseason Colonial Athletic Association men's basketball favorite UNCW kept its machine rolling on Thursday night, placing four men in double figures to burn Drexel's Dragons, 90-72, in men's basketball at the Daskalakis Center.
The Seahawks won their third in a row to hike their record to 14-2 overall and share first place at 3-0 in the CAA with Charleston, Northeastern and James Madison. The Dragons are now 6-10 and 0-3 in Zach Spiker's first season in Philly.
Sophomore forward Devontae Cacok and senior guard Denzel Ingram powered the Seahawks with 22 points apiece. Cacok posted his fifth career double-double before halftime by scoring 13 points and pulling down 11 boards in the first 20 minutes and wound up with 22 points and 14 boards. It was the fifth career double-double for the Riverdale, Ga., product.
Senior guard Chris Flemmings chipped in 19 points and sophomore guard C.J. Bryce had 11 for the Seahawks, who shot 60.6 percent in the first half to open up a 23-point lead at the break before cruising after intermission.
Senior forward Rodney Williams anchored Drexel's offensive attack with 17 points, followed by graduate guard John Moran with 12 and freshman guard Kurk Lee and junior guard Miles Overton with 11 apiece.
"We were tremendous on the defensive end in the first half," said UNCW's Kevin Keatts, the CAA Coach-of-the-Year in both 2015 and 2016. "We came out with great passion and energy and did a great job. We just went up against a team that had some pride on their home floor and did a good job of coming back.
"I wanted our guys to play through some adversity. These guys have to figure things out on the floor. Our veterans stepped up and did a great job. I'm excited about another road win in the CAA and that's what is most important."
In the 28th meeting between the two schools, UNCW raced out to a big lead and held off the stubborn Dragons for its eighth win away from Trask Coliseum this season
After bolting out to a 49-26 cushion at halftime, the Seahawks raised the margin to as many as 25 points in the final period before the Dragons showed some life.
In the second half, Flemmings converted a three-point play and added a triple to extend the advantage to 65-40 with 15:38 remaining to match UNCW's largest lead of the game.
But the Dragons, behind Williams stormed back to narrow the deficit to nine points. Drexel used a 13-1 run to close the gap to 78-69 on back-to-back trifectas by Moran before the Seahawks scored 12 of the last 15 points in the contest for their eighth double digit win of the year.
UNCW scored the first eight points of the game and used a 14-2 spurt from the opening tip to set the tone early. Cacok led the way early and the talented duo of Flemmings and Ingram then got into the act.
"Devontae's becoming a big threat for us. Devontae came out, played aggressive and did a good job. His numbers were impressive."
After Cacok converted a conventional three-point play with 9:19 left in the first half and reserve guard JaQuel Richmond sank a mid-range jumper for a 31-9 bulge, the Dragons outscored the Seahawks, 7-2, over the next three minutes to close the gap to 33-16.
But Cacok answered with a monster dunk – his second of the period – and the Seahawks closed out the half by outscoring the Dragons, 16-10, for a 23-point advantage at the break. UNCW shot 60.6 percent from the floor in the first half, while DU managed just 25.8 percent.
The streaking Seahawks complete their two-game swing through the northeast with a 7 p.m. tilt on Saturday against Delaware at the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark, Del. Drexel travels to Williamsburg, Va., to challenge William & Mary on Saturday at 4 p.m. for their fourth conference outing.
GAME NOTES: The Seahawks lead the all-time series, 16-12…UNCW is now 6-7 all-time at the Daskalakis Center…The Seahawks have 15 games remaining in the regular season…The Seahawks are 14-6 in CAA true road games and 18-8 overall on the road under Keatts…Thursday marked the 81st game in Keatts' tenure on the coast…The Seahawks have won 30 of their last 35 conference games....UNCW outrebounded Drexel, 41-39…The Seahawks had just 10 turnovers…UNCW scored 36 points in the paint…The Seahawks had 20 assists on 33 baskets…Sophomore guard C.J. Bryce dished out seven assists…Ambrose Mosley was the only starter that did not score…Drexel outscored UNCW, 46-41, in the second half.