OLEAN, New York – Senior guard Denzel Ingram knocked down his second buzzer beater of the season on Saturday afternoon as the streaking UNCW men’s basketball team overcame a fierce comeback by St. Bonaventure in front of a raucous crowd for an 81-80 road victory in snowy upstate New York.
The Seahawks, 8-1, extended their winning streak to five straight and haven’t lost since a five-point defeat against Middle Tennessee State on Nov. 26.
Ingram was the man of the hour for the Seahawks, draining a contested jumper along the left baseline with two seconds left to give UNCW an impressive 5-1 record on the road this season.
“What a tremendous game,” said an exhausted Keatts, who improved to 18-16 away from home in three seasons. “We’re very fortunate to get out of here with a win. I thought our guys did a tremendous job of coming into a hostile environment and staying the course.
“We wanted to be very aggressive on both ends,” Keatts said. “Denzel made me look like a good coach again tonight. He made a three-pointer after halftime and made another great play at the end. He just raised up and made a great play.”
The Chapel Hill, N.C., product led all scorers in the contest with 19 points and dished out five assists. Sophomore guard C.J. Bryce added 17 points, sophomore guard JaQuel Richmond scored 16 and senior guard Chris Flemmings had 15 for the Seahawks, who canned 13-of-29 triples on the night.
In the first meeting between the two high-scoring clubs, the Seahawks used the long ball to forge out to a 40-35 advantage at halftime and held off the Bonnies down the stretch to win for the eighth time in nine games to open the new campaign.
UNCW carried a 73-65 advantage with 5:25 left on the clock, but the Bonnies scored 10 of the next 13 points and narrowed the deficit to one on a pair of free throws by Jaylen Adams with 1:41 remaining.
Ingram then responded with his fifth trey, but Denzel Gregg’s slam sliced the lead to 79-77, setting up a conventional three-point play by Adams with 12 ticks left that gave St. Bonaventure their first lead since 14:28 left in the first half.
With time running out Ingram took the ensuing inbound pass, navigated his way through traffic to the left baseline before silencing 3,976 screaming fans with the 18-foot baseline jumper at the buzzer.
The Seahawks continue their pre-Christmas slate with the programs 102nd game against longtime state foe Campbell at the Pope Convocation Center in Buies Creek on Wednesday, Dec. 14.