Defending CAA Champion, UNC-Wilmington Seahawks, open league play on high note

PortCityDaily.com is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

TOWSON, MarylandSenior guard Denzel Ingram dropped in 19 of his game-high 22 points in the second half as the defending Colonial Athletic Association champions, UNCW, cruised past Towson, 76-67, in the conference opener for both teams early Saturday at SECU Arena.

The Seahawks, making their fourth appearance in the venue, improved to 12-2 overall and 1-0 in the CAA after the key win. The Tigers, returning to the floor after a nine-day layoff for the Christmas holiday, stand at 8-6 overall and 0-1 in league play.

Ingram, from Charlotte, N.C., anchored four players in double figures. He added six rebounds and two steals, while committing just two turnovers in 38 minutes on the floor. Ingram led the Seahawks in scoring for the third straight game and fifth time this season.

Denzel Ingram led UNCW in scoring for the third time in five games on Saturday. Photo courtesy- UNCW Athletics.
Denzel Ingram led UNCW in scoring for the third time in five games on Saturday. Photo courtesy- UNCW Athletics.

“Road games are golden,” said a pleased third-year UNCW skipper Kevin Keatts. “Winning on the road in any conference is very, very tough. This was a tough game we were playing against a very good basketball team on its home floor.

“We did a great job of guarding in the first half and only gave up three offensive rebounds in the second half. Towson pounds you on the glass and we did a good job of matching their intensity in the second half.”

UNCW shot 50 percent in the second half and forced 19 turnovers to win away from home for the seventh time in nine games this season. After inching out to a narrow 32-31 advantage at halftime, the Seahawks finally shook the pesky Tigers with seven minutes remaining and closed out the conference road win in solid fashion.

Sophomore guard Devontae Cacok added 17 points and eight rebounds. Graduate guard Ambrose Mosely erupted for 15 – all in the second half – and sophomore guard C.J. Bryce finished with 11 points.

The active Cacok was a force inside early for UNCW and scored eight of the Seahawks’ first nine points, including a layup inside four minutes into the contest that gave his team a 9-5 lead. He scored the final five points of the first period and wound up with 13 points on 5-of-7 from the field.

“Denzel is our engine and he’s playing well,” Keatts added. “On the nights we need him to score, he steps up. I thought he did a very good job. He was aggressive and got to the free throw line six times.”

UNCW went 10-of-30 from deep and Towson was just 3-of-9 from long range. The Seahawks had 16 assists on 26 basket, while Towson was assessed with two technical fouls on the contest.

The Seahawks wrap up a challenging schedule of three games in six days with a 7 p.m. matchup on Monday vs. Elon at Trask Coliseum.