HARRISONBURG, Virginia – In a historic season featuring new records with each new game, UNCW's men's basketball team tacked on another one Thursday night - the fastest Seahawk team to reach 20 wins in a season.
Led by CAA Preseason Player of the Year Chris Flemmings, the Seahawks placed six men in double figures for the second time this season to blow past host James Madison, 87-76, to remain atop the Colonial Athletic Association standings midway through the conference season.
The Seahawks (20-2, 9-0) won their ninth consecutive game by taking the first leg of a two-game road trip to Virginia. The Dukes (6-16, 4-5) suffered their third straight loss and fifth defeat in six outings.
Coupled with Towson's overtime thriller over College of Charleston (16-6, 7-2), the Seahawks now own a two-game lead over the Cougars in the CAA standings. With an unblemished 9-0 record, the Seahawks are off to the fourth best start in league history, matching JMU's 1991 and 1992 clubs.
This year's Seahawk club becomes only the second unit in school history to post back-to-back 20-win seasons, following the lead of the 2001-02 and 2002-03 teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
"The road is tough and we're fortunate to get out of here with a win," said Kevin Keatts, who improved to 17-6 in CAA road games in three seasons. "It was the first time in 22 games that I didn't think we followed the scouting report in the first half. In the second half, we followed the scouting report, shared the ball, we made shots, took rhythm three's and did a good job of scoring the ball.
"We made some great passes. Our guys did a great job of finding open guys. I'm proud of our guys. I thought we did a great job of finding guys and making open shots."
Flemmings, from Cary, N.C., anchored UNCW's balanced attack with 18 points, followed by sophomore forward Devontae Cacok (16), senior guard Denzel Ingram (14), junior guard Jordon Talley (14), graduate guard Ambrose Mosley (13) and sophomore guard C.J. Bryce (11).
Cacok, who pulled down a school and CAA game record 24 rebounds in the team's last outing vs. Drexel, wound up with 10 boards for his ninth double-double of the season.