Dylan Sherwood and Marcus Bryan scored 14 points apiece as UNCW fought off Towson 74-68 in the Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball regular season finale for both clubs early Saturday at Trask Coliseum.
The Seahawks clinched at least a share of the CAA title and tied the school record for most regular season wins by improving to 22-7 on the season, including 14-4 in the CAA. It also marked the third time UNCW has won back-to-back regular season titles after hardware in the 1997/98 and 2002/03 seasons.
“I’m excited to be a part of another championship,” said Kevin Keatts, who has piloted UNCW to two CAA regular season titles in as many seasons. “Disappointment was an understatement after Thursday’s loss (to Hofstra). We felt like we should have won the game. Some adversity helps you grow as an individual and helps you as a team. I think we did, and bounced back. It means a lot and shows me a lot about these guys.”
Sherwood and Bryan anchored UNCW’s offensive attack, while Chris Flemmings and Denzel Ingram chipped in 11 points each to give the Seahawks four in double figures.
In a physical, tightly contested battle, the Seahawks and Tigers locked up in a rugged second half until Sherwood and Ingram ignited the home team down the stretch.
After the Tigers took a 52-49 edge, Sherwood canned a triple from the left corner, Ingram made a pair of free throws and C.J. Gettys slammed a dunk home to put the Seahawks ahead by four.
Towson responded to narrow the deficit to 58-57 before Ingram and Sherwood combined for eight straight points, capped by Sherwood’s banked trey at 6:16 that hiked the margin to 66-57.
UNCW next competes in the CAA Tournament at Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, Md. The Seahawks picked up a bye in the opening round and will play a quarterfinal game at noon or 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 5.