WILMINGTON— The lightning-quick backcourt of Denzel Ingram and C.J. Bryce combined for 51 points to ignite UNCW to its eighth consecutive victory, 81-71, over East Carolina in a holiday match-up of eastern North Carolina rivals on Tuesday night before a sellout crowd at Trask Coliseum.
The Seahawks led wire-to-wire to hike their record to 11-1 overall and remained unbeaten at home this season in five outings. The Pirates, who lost for the third time in their last four games to the Seahawks, dropped their third in a row and stand 7-5.
“We wanted to control the tempo,” said third-year UNCW Head Coach Kevin Keatts, who is now a perfect 12-0 at home against non-conference opponents. “We made those guys play our tempo. I couldn’t be more proud of my group. We got a lot of contributions from a lot of people and were able to show off our depth.”
Ingram, a senior guard from Chapel Hill, N.C., led all scorers with 26 points on 10-of-17 shooting and added three assists. Bryce, a sophomore guard from Charlotte, N.C., contributed 25 points, while senior guard Chris Flemmings chipped in 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds.
“Denzel is the type of point guard you want,” Keatts added. “If we need him to run the team and get five to 10 assists, he’ll do it. If we need him to hit the big shot at the end, he’ll do it. Tonight, we needed him to be offensive-minded and we took advantage of the switches they had.”
The game marked the 10th time the Seahawks and Pirates have played before full house in Wilmington and the Seahawks have won all 10 of those games with their rivals.
UNCW carved out a 35-25 halftime advantage and led by as many as 17 points in the second half before putting away the American Athletic Conference opponent.
The Seahawks take a brief break for the Christmas holiday before resuming play on Dec. 28 when they travel to Clemson’s Littlejohn Coliseum to battle the Tigers and former UNCW skipper Brad Brownell.