By Kevin Laska, Reporter
Wilmington, NC - There was an incredible atmosphere in Raiford G. Trask Coliseum Saturday night while the University of North Carolina - Wilmington men’s basketball team cruised to their seventh straight victory against CAA conference opponents. College of Charleston was the opposing team in this matchup, and they had their hands full against an energized UNCW team who fed off the cheers from a whopping 5,100 fans in the crowd. Students, faculty, alumni, and members of the Wilmington community gathered in Trask Coliseum to celebrate their annual Homecoming Weekend. They left the stadium happy as they witnessed a remarkable defensive effort from the Seahawks led by rising star Chris Flemmings. Defense was the name of the game in UNCW’s 65-55 victory over Charleston.
The Cougars jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead early in the first half, but momentum shifted in the Seahawks direction thanks to some sharp shooting from the red shirt-junior, Flemmings. Denzel Ingram was the first to put UNCW on the scoreboard, but Flemmings went on to score the next nine points for the Seahawks by hitting three 3-pointers. Red shirt-senior Craig Ponder broke an 18-18 tie with a two-point jumper, and the Seahawks never looked back from there. The Seahawks forced Charleston into committing 18 turnovers. Although UNCW totaled the same amount themselves, their energy trumped the Cougars thanks in part to the passion displayed from the amazing fans who attended the game.
Flemmings facilitated the offense by adding 25 points and 5 rebounds. He leads the Seahawks in scoring this season with an average of 16.8 points per game. Yet, this win was an excellent team effort. Red shirt- junior C.J. Gettys anchored the defense with 9 rebounds and 4 blocks. Charleston couldn’t seem to figure it out on offense as they finished converting only 35% of their field goals. Their leading scorer, Marquise Pointer, finished with just 17 points.
Perhaps the most intriguing part of Saturday’s contest was after the conclusion of the game; UNCW Head Coach, Kevin Keatts, walked over to the scoring table. The outspoken coach picked up the microphone and proudly reiterated a message he gave to fans prior to the start of this season. “We have the best players, and greatest fans”, shouted Keatts. The crowd erupted with cheers as the head coach thanked the fans for the energy they brought to Trask Coliseum.
UNCW will now head north for a two game road trip. They will first travel to Hempstead, New York to take on Hofstra, who is tied with UNCW for first place in the CAA conference. The Seahawks will then be shipping up to Boston for a rematch against Northeastern, who defeated UNCW 65-63 earlier this season in Trask Coliseum. The games will take place on February 4th and 6th respectively; each game starts at 7:00 PM. These games can be seen by using the Seahawk Digital Network, which is accessible on UNCWsports.com under the Live Events page. The Seahawks look to continue their win streak against these leading CAA opponents. It will be a difficult to task, but this bullish UNCW team has proven they are up for the challenge.