By Carson Poe, Reporter
Wilmington, NC - The Seahawks hosted a nationally televised CAA clash against James Madison Saturday afternoon in front of a sold out Trask Coliseum. UNCW cruised to a 78-68 victory led by a balanced offensive attack. The victory is a school record 11th straight win for the Seahawks this season and keeps them in first place in the CAA standings as well. The game started with JMU gaining momentum early in the first half by feeding the ball in the post to their big men, where they believed they had the biggest advantage offensively. After JMU did an impressive job early defending the pick and roll, UNCW’s offense eventually started rolling late in the first half by finding numerous open three point shots, which led to a 26-6 run. This gave the Seahawks a healthy 42-29 lead going into halftime.
Just like the first half, JMU got off to strong start to the second half by cutting the lead to single digits with their tough defense. However, the Seahawks ramped up their full court pressure which led to multiple forced turnovers that kept the lead mainly out of reach for the remainder of the second half. The closest the deficit was ever cut to in the second half was 8 points. UNCW’s balanced scoring from the trio of guards Jordan Talley, Craig Ponder, and Chris Flemmings continued to be a huge difference for this team as it has all year. Craig Ponder led the way by shooting 6 of 14 from the field for 19 points, followed by Flemmings who put up an impressive 17 points and 11 rebounds, and Jordan Talley who was very efficient shooting on 6 of 8 field goals for 15 points.
JMU was stingy defensively for most of the game but their lack of offensive efficiency and key turnovers were the main factors that led to their defeat. These key turnovers attributed to the lack of guard depth that JMU had available to them on Saturday. JMU star guard Ron Curry, who averages 16.8 points this season, was out with a bruised knee he suffered last Tuesday in a win over College of Charleston. As a result, the Dukes turned to their post men to get the job done offensively. Junior forward Tom Vodanovich led the way with 17 points, but as a team JMU was only 4 out of 10 from 3 point range.
With four games remaining on the CAA slate before March Madness begins, the Seahawks look to ride this huge momentum they have by going on the road for the next to two against Charleston and William& Mary, before ending the regular season with Hofstra and Towson in Trask Coliseum. Saturday’s win improves Seahawks men’s basketball’s record to 20-5 overall, 12-2 in the CAA, and 11-1 in Trask coliseum this season. UNCW next plays Thursday night at 7pm at College of Charleston.