Junior guard Chris Flemmings exploded for a career-high 28 points as UNCW used a big run in the second half to grab a 91-82 win over Elon in Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball on Thursday at Alumni Gym.
The Seahawks, one game out of first place in the CAA, won their second straight conference road game and raised their record to 11-5 overall and 3-2 in the CAA.
Flemmings led all scorers with his second 20-point game of the season. The Cary, N.C. product connected on 11 of 16 shots and 5 of 9 from long range to spark the Seahawks. Craig Ponder made 8 of 13 field goals attempts en route to his 21-point effort, while junior guard Denzel Ingram and junior center C.J. Gettys chipped in 14 and 10, respectively.
“This was a great CAA basketball game,” said UNCW second-year Head Coach Kevin Keatts. “Elon has a very good basketball team and shoots the ball very well. After they cut the lead to two points at halftime, we knew we would have to battle in the second half.
“Chris (Flemmings) shot well in practice and in our shoot around and had a tremendous first half. Craig (Ponder) had a great second half. We knew they were going to shoot a lot of three’s and we held them to eight tonight. I’m very proud of our guys.”
UNCW enjoyed one of its best shooting nights of the season and registered season highs in conference play for points (91), three-point field goals (12) and field goal percentage (.557). It marked the fourth time this season the Seahawks eclipsed the 50 percent plateau from the field.
The Seahawks jumped out to a comfortable lead in the opening minutes before carrying a two-point edge into the break.
With a two-point advantage at the break, the Seahawks spent most of the second half trying to keep the Phoenix at bay before finally gaining some much-needed separation late in the final period.
Leading 68-66 with 5:39 remaining, Flemmings and Ponder helped the Seahawks reel off 10 unanswered points to stun the Phoenix. Flemmings opened the decisive spurt and closed the key run with a three-pointer on the right wing that put the Seahawks ahead by 12.
Flemmings knocked down 4 of 5 three-pointers in the first eight minutes to get the Seahawks out of the gate quickly. The Barton transfer’s fourth triple early in the contest gave the Seahawks a 15-7 advantage with 12:40 left in the first half. Elon closed the first half with a flurry, outscoring the UNCW 17-2 over the final 5:09 to close the gap to 38-36 at intermission.
The Seahawks return home to entertain William & Mary in another CAA test on Saturday in a 2 p.m. tip-off at Trask Coliseum.