By Ethan Marsh, Reporter
WILMINGTON, NC - As the last part of preparation for the new and upcoming season, the UNCW Men’s Basketball team played their exhibition on Sunday afternoon versus Mount Olive and defeated the Trojans by 52 points.
In this one, UNCW was in preparation for the upcoming season opener on Veterans Day November 11th versus Claflin, who the Seahawks will be playing for the very first time. The Seahawks had not lost an exhibition game since 1998 and was not looking for that to change Sunday. The team went through with what it was looking for: winning in a blow out.
Looking to continue the turnaround that has been being pursued the last two seasons, the Seahawks have a majority of their starting lineup returning from last season’s team who went 25-8 and secured UNCW’s fifth NCAA tournament appearance who came not far from dethroning the Duke Blue Devils. This team also broke 18 records in the 2015-16 season. This exhibition game showed promise to the expectations of this 2016-17 team continuing the success that Head Coach Kevin Keatts has ensued at UNCW the past couple of seasons. This exhibition showed that majority of the starting lineup looking even better and the new players going right along with the successful way of playing Seahawk Basketball.
UNCW had a ball versus Mount Olive as it never played in a deficit and started out 8-0. The Seahawks ended up leading by as many as 54 points a couple of separate occasions toward the ending of the exhibition matchup. UNCW raced out to a 30-10 lead early as Sophomore C.J. Bryce scored six of the first eight points and Senior Denzel Ingram and new Freshman Jaylen Fornes hitting a couple of threes. UNCW raced out to a 11-point lead early and it was pretty much in the bag 10 minutes into this exhibition matchup.
Even though the Seahawks were up by 20 early, they were struggling with making the short shot, in particular one occasion after several attempts that ended up in a foul made by Mount Olive and sending the crowd into amusement. This problem persisted off and on throughout the matchup. Mount Olive’s last look to try to get back into it towards the end of the first half as it was mounting more defense even forcing UNCW into a time-clock violation. Other than this, UNCW had no problem handling Mount Olive.
Sophomore C.J. Bryce, who was a huge contributor in the 2015-16 season as a Freshman, led the game in points at 19 and made three out of his four 3-point attempts. Sophomore JaQuel Richmond followed him with 17 points made. This exhibition showed a case of the team as a whole contributing not just a few star players. The 10 3-pointers made in the matchup by The Seahawks were made by eight different players. Matt Elmore, Nick Powell, Jaylen Fornes, Chris Flemmings, JaQuel Richmond, Ambrose Mosley, and Denzel Ingram all made 1 3-pointer each while C.J. Bryce made the other three. This matchup showed some of the style the Seahawks can display as both halves ended with a dunk with Freshman Jaylen Fornes making the dunk at the end of the game at the end of the second half to make it a 117-65 Exhibition win over Mount Olive.
The Men’s Basketball team will embark on it’s 66th season playing ball starting on November 11th in its season opener over Claflin. This exhibition win made it the Seahawks 29th consecutive exhibition win.