Seahawks men’s hoops take fifth straight, top CAA standings

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Chris Flemmings, Denzel Ingram and C.J. Bryce keyed a second-half surge to propel UNCW to its second regular season sweep in the Colonial Athletic Association with a 77-71 victory over Drexel in a men’s basketball matinee on Sunday .

The Seahawks won their fifth consecutive game – matching their longest streak of the season – and climbed to 14-5 overall and 6-2 in the CAA. UNCW remains in a tie for first place with Hofstra and James Madison entering the final week of January. It marked the first time since the 2006 season the Seahawks swept Drexel in the regular campaign following a 75-63 decision in the first meeting back on New Year’s Eve in Wilmington.

Chris Flemmings. Photo courtesy- UNCW Athletics
Chris Flemmings. Photo courtesy- UNCW Athletics

“I thought it was a hard-fought CAA game,” said second-year UNCW Head Coach Kevin Keatts. “Give Drexel credit – they really defended us in the first half. We shot the ball better in the second half and got everyone involved.

“We knew going in that it was going to be a tough game. We got a little frustrated in the first half and started to play one-on-one basketball. When you’re playing against a good defensive team and not sharing the basketball, it’s not a good formula to win.”

Flemmings and Ingram shared game scoring honors with 21 points apiece for the Seahawks, who trailed by five points at intermission before outscoring the hosts, 45-34, after the break. Bryce gave the Seahawks three in double figures with 17 points, including 15 in the second half.

Senior guard Craig Ponder also became the 22nd player in school history to reach the 1,000-point plateau.

Playing one day later due to a winter storm that dumped 22.4 inches of snow in the Philadelphia area, the two teams locked up in a defensive battle before the Seahawks took control in the final minutes.

With UNCW down eight early in the second half, the slippery Bryce sliced into the paint for a layup to start a 14-3 spurt and Ingram’s back-to-back triples helped the Seahawks bolt ahead, 48-45, at 13:23.

After Ingram connected on his fourth trey of the contest, the Dragons managed to narrow the deficit to 62-61, but Bryce scored on a high-arching shot and quickly added a layup and free throw following a steal to get the margin back to 67-61 with 3:24 remaining and the Seahawks closed out their fourth road win of the season.

UNCW returns home briefly before traveling to James Madison in a clash between two division leaders on Thursday for a 7 p.m. tip-off at the JMU Convocation Center.

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