Junior guard Chris Flemmings poured in 25 points and UNCW bucketed 30 points off College of Charleston turnovers to scoot past the Cougars 65-55 before a sellout crowd on Saturday night at Trask Coliseum.
The Seahawks, 16-5 and 8-2 in the Colonial Athletic Association, won their seventh consecutive game – their longest streak of the season – and maintained a share of first place in the CAA with Hofstra.
UNCW’s seven-game streak is the longest since the Seahawks reeled off eight consecutive wins to wrap up the regular season in 2005-06. It was the first sellout since a 99-85 victory over James Madison on Feb. 9, 2008, and the 47th full house since Trask Coliseum opened on Nov. 26, 1977.
“We knew Charleston was a great defensive team and we had to work for everything we got,” UNCW second-year Coach Kevin Keatts said of the CAA’s top defensive unit. “Our guys accepted the challenge. We wanted to score in our offense and get out in transition. I knew they were never going away.”
The versatile Flemmings made 9-of-15 field goals and drained 4-of-9 behind the arc to lead the Seahawks in scoring for the 13th time this season. He went over the 20-point plateau for the third straight game and fifth time this season and reached double figures for the 19th time in 21 games.
Junior guard Denzel Ingram chipped in 13 points and freshman backcourt mate C.J. Bryce added 10 for the Seahawks, who led by as many as 16 points late in the game. Junior center led all players with nine rebounds and pitched in four blocks.
The red-hot Seahawks jumped ahead, 37-29, at halftime behind a 16-point first period from Flemmings and used a 13-0 run midway through the second half to break away from their CAA neighbors from the south.
“We turned the ball over too much and they were able to open up the game,” said Earl Grant, Charleston’s second-year coach. “Eleven turnovers in the first half were way too many. We take care of the ball about 95 percent of the time and I didn’t expect this.”
After trading buckets with the Cougars early, the Seahawks rode the hot hand of Flemmings to forge out to a 37-28 lead at halftime. The Cary, N.C., product sank 5-of-8 field goal attempts, including 4-of-7 from deep, to deliver a nine-point lead at the break.
The two team’s dialed long distance in the early going, combining for 8-of-13 behind the arc in the opening nine minutes.
Flemmings drained three consecutive triples to give the Seahawks an 11-8 advantage at 14:48 and Ingram connected on both ends of a bonus situation to give UNCW a 22-18 edge with just under six minutes remaining in the first half.
The Seahawks embark on a two-game swing to the Northeast on Thursday when they take on Hofstra in a 7 p.m. tip-off in Hempstead, N.Y.