Junior guard Chris Flemmings led four players in double figures with 17 points and UNCW stayed perfect at home by turning back Drexel 75-63 in the Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball opener for both clubs Thursday at Trask Coliseum.
The Seahawks won their fourth straight game to improve to 9-3 and claimed their first CAA opener in eight seasons. The Dragons dropped to 2-10 and lost their fourth contest in five outings.
“It was a CAA dogfight,” said UNCW Head Coach Kevin Keatts, who improved to 16-2 at home in his two seasons. “We wanted to drive the basketball and not come in and bomb away from three. We were able to get to the free throw line.
“We needed this. This is the first game where the other team had more possessions. Our guards did a tremendous job on Tavon Allen. We have to get back to work and do a better job inside.”
Flemmings, who went 15 of 16 at the free throw line, led the Seahawks in scoring for the seventh time this season and matched the single game record set by Keith Adkins in an overtime game versus UNC Charlotte on Jan. 6, 1992.
Reigning CAA Rookie of the Week C.J. Bryce added 14 points, freshman forward Devontae Cacok chipped in 11 and junior guard Denzel Ingram scored 10 for the Seahawks, who never trailed and moved to 6-0 at home in 2015-16.
UNCW jumped ahead 41-30 at halftime and capitalized on Drexel’s cold shooting early in the second half to extend the margin to 46-32. Junior center C.J. Gettys converted a slam dunk with 15:20 remaining and the lead swelled to 46-32.
Drexel eventually closed the gap to eight points on Terrell Allen’s layup at 3:30, but consecutive dunks by Cacok stalled by late rally.
The Seahawks complete a three-game home stand and opening weekend of CAA action on Saturday with a 6 p.m. clash against Northeastern.