Junior guard Chris Flemmings exploded for 23 of his game-high 25 points in the second half and tied a school record for field goal efficiency as UNCW solidified its hold on first place in the Colonial Athletic Association with a 90-73 thumping of defending conference champion Northeastern on Saturday night at Matthews Arena.
The Seahawks won their ninth consecutive game – matching the school record set in 2002-03 – after opening the second half with a 20-4 run to break the game wide open. UNCW wound up shooting 58.3 percent from the floor and placing five men in double figures on the night.
UNCW, ranked 22nd in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major poll earlier in the week, looks to climb even higher after hiking its record to 18-5 overall and 10-2 in the CAA. Northeastern scuffled to its sixth straight loss and stands 12-13 and 4-8.
“I thought we did a great job, especially of defending in the second half,” said Kevin Keatts, UNCW’s second-year coach. “We really shared the basketball. Our guys got out on transition and got some easy baskets in the second half. I thought everybody contributed tonight.”
The Seahawks, picked to finish sixth in the CAA’s preseason poll, find themselves atop the CAA standings with six games remaining, including four at Trask Coliseum.
The 6-5, 175-pound Flemmings was spectacular once again, anchoring UNCW’s attack with a perfect 11-of-11 from the field along with a pair of free throws for his sixth 20-point effort of the season. He reached double figures for the 13th straight game, the longest streak for a Seahawk player since Keith Rendleman closed out the 2012-13 campaign with 21 consecutive double digit games.
Senior guard Craig Ponder added 16 points and five assists, freshman guard C.J. Bryce contributed 15 points, sophomore guard Jordon Talley scored 13 points. Denzel Ingram also recorded his first career double-double with 12 points and 10 assists.
The Seahawks forged out to a 40-39 edge at halftime and stunned the Huskies in the first five minutes of the second period. After Walker tied the game at 42-all with his only three-pointer of the game at 15:42, UNCW reeled off 11 unanswered points as part of a 20-4 run that put NU on its heels.
The Seahawks registered their largest lead of the game, 88-67, with 1:33 remaining when Flemmings soared in for a high-flying layup.
UNCW returns to Wilmington to play four of its final six games at Trask Coliseum, beginning with a Thursday, Feb. 11, date against Elon at 7 p.m.