Freshman guard Mark Matthews poured in a career-high 18 points and junior center C.J. Gettys added a career-best 15 points as UNCW routed Delaware 85-67 in Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball action Saturday at the Bob Carpenter Center.
The Seahawks, 10-5 overall and 2-2 in the CAA, snapped a two-game skid and seven-game losing streak at the Bob Carpenter Center. It was UNCW’s first win in Newark since a 71-58 victory on Jan. 5, 2006.
“It was the most energy our guys have brought into a game since the non-conference part of the season,” said UNCW coach Kevin Keatts, who avenged an 11-point loss to the Blue Hens last season. “I was happy with our effort. We came out at the beginning of the game and played with energy. We have depth and I like the way this team is shaping up.”
The Blue Hens were saddled with their seventh consecutive loss and freefalled to 5-10 and 0-5. The 18-point victory was UNCW’s largest victory margin in 13 appearances in the 5,000-seat venue.
Matthews, out of Ft. Myers, Fla., scored 13 of his career total in the first half and wound up canning 7-of-11 field goals and 4-of-5 from deep to pace the Seahawks for the first time this season. Junior guard Chris Flemmings and senior guard Craig Ponder contributed 16 points apiece and Gettys scored nine of his career-high 15 points in the second half.
The Seahawks shook off a slow start to shoot better than 50 percent for the third time this season with a 53 percent aim on 35-of-66 at the Bob. The Blue Hens managed just 39.1 percent and 76.9 percent at the line, but couldn’t overcome a season-high 20 turnovers caused by UNCW’s ball-hawking defense.
UNCW rode a big first half from Matthews to a 41-30 advantage at intermission and withstood a furious rally by the Blue Hens before pulling away down the stretch.
Delaware, which committed 13 turnovers to trail by 11 points at the break, opened the second half with a flurry and scored eight of the first 10 points of the final half to close the gap to 43-38 on a bank shot by King-Davis at 16:46.
But the Seahawks responded in a big way, staging a suffocating 18-1 run to hike the score back to double digits and sink the Blue Hens in a hole once again.
UNCW completes a three-game conference road swing on Thursday by visiting Elon for a 7 p.m. tip-off at Alumni Gym. The Blue Hens continue their three-game home stand with a 7 p.m. matchup on Thursday against longtime rival Towson