The Seahawks won their fifth consecutive game to open the new season behind a career night from junior guard Chris Flemming to race past NCAA Division II Coker 93-73 on Wednesday at Trask Coliseum.
“We were prepared to play, but started out a little sloppy,” said Coach Kevin Keatts, who improved to 14-2 at home with Wednesday’s decision. “Give Coker a lot of credit. It was a game of two halves. We didn’t do a good job of guarding in the first half. In the second half, we made them turn it over for easy baskets. I was pleased with how we finished the game.”
Flemming led the Seahawks with a career-high 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting and added six rebounds, three assists and two steals. Craig Ponder (12), C.J. Bryce (10), Mark Matthews (10) and Marcus Bryan (10) gave UNCW five players in double figures for the third time this season.
UNCW carved out a 45-33 lead at the break and extended the margin to as many as 22 points in the final period before registering its fourth double digit victory in five games. With 18 steals, the Seahawks came up just shy of the school record of 19 thefts set against Towson in a 77-65 victory on Jan. 27, 1979.
Ponder, the Seahawks’ leading scorer out of Bluefield, W.Va., did set a new school mark with his nine steals, eclipsing the record of eight steals shared by Bobby Martin, Temi Soyebo and Chad Tomko.
After leading 45-33 at halftime, the Seahawks scored 14 of the first 18 points in the final stanza to gain some breathing room. A 12-2 run, keyed by Bryce, gave the Seahawks a 59-37 bulge at 15:17. Bryce had six points in the spurt and Ponder’s layup with 15:17 remaining hiked the advantage to 22 points.
Coker narrowed the deficit to nine points, but the Seahawks clamped down and kept the Cobras at the bay the rest of the way. An 11-0 run in the final minutes put the game out of reach.
UNCW breaks for exams before returning to the floor in a 2:30 p.m. tip-off on Saturday, Dec. 12, against national power Georgetown at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.
VCU breaks away from UNCW women in Richmond
Senior guard Adaeze Alaeze scored 13 of her season-high 22 points in the second half as VCU broke away after the intermission to defeat UNCW 58-45 in a non-conference contest at the Stuart C. Siegel Center on Wednesday night.
The win allowed the Rams to improve to 5-1 on the season, including a perfect 4-0 mark at home. UNCW, which was playing its second road game of the year, dropped to 2-3 after suffering its second straight loss.
Alaeze made 9 of 11 shots from the floor, including one of two three-point field goals, while connecting on three of four free throws as the Rams outscored UNCW by a 35-24 margin in the second half.
Senior guard Shatia Cole posted her third consecutive double-digit scoring effort for the Seahawks with a team-high 14 points. Junior forward Jordan Henry contributed nine points and seven rebounds and junior guard Jasmine Steele added eight points with five rebounds and four assists.
After battling to a 23-21 score at the half, VCU outscored the Seahawks by an 18-10 margin in the third quarter, while holding UNCW without a field goal for the first 6:22 of the period. Alaeze and Calhoun combined to score 15 of the Rams’ 18 points in the stanza.
The Seahawks close a two game road trip with a trip to Norfolk State on Sunday, Dec. 13.