UNC-Wilmington dancing in low country, Hawks punch ticket to NCAA Tournament

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NORTH CHARLESTON, South Carolina — Make it back-to-back Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Championships for the UNC-Wilmington Men’s Basketball Team. The Seahawks caught fire in the second half on Monday night to break away from College of Charleston, securing a 78-69 victory in front of a crowd of 6,342.

The win punched a ticket to the 2017 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament and clinched the programs sixth CAA crown. UNCW tied Old Dominion for most CAA Titles and ran their school best overall record to 29-5 this season.

Devontae Cacok recorded a double-double in the effort with 15 points on 6-of-6 shooting paired with 14 rebounds, including six offensive boards. C.J. Bryce dropped 24 points for game-high honors. The Seahawks knocked down 10 treys in the game and shot 67 percent from the field in the second half.

Bryce was named Tournament Most Outstanding Player, scoring 16 of his points in the second half for the top-seeded Seahawks (29-5). Cacok’s perfect shooting performance also was highlighted by two blocks, one steal and one assist.

 

After splitting a pair of regular season match ups in games decided by a combined seven points, the back-and-forth affair had the Seahawks down by one, 17-16, midway through the first half. Strong defense helped UNCW go on a 12-4 run over the next few minutes as Jordon Talley provided a big spark off the bench.

The Seahawks led 31-25 at the break. In 10 minutes of action during the first-period, Talley was 3-for-3 from the field, with three rebounds and two assists.

Following the dunk by Cacok to put UNCW up 52-48 with 11:54 left in regulation, the Seahawks went on a 13-2 push to break out to 15-point advantage, 65-50. After going 0-for-5 in the opening period, Denzel Ingram sank three long range shots in the second half and finished with 11 points. Talley added 10 points, while Chris Flemmings chipped in with eight.

The Seahawks are set to make repeat appearances in the Big Dance for the first time since 2002-2003. UNCW learns its fate for the NCAA Tournament during selection Sunday on March 12.