CHARLESTON, South Carolina – Defending champion and No. 1 seed UNCW converted nine consecutive shots in the second half and held off No. 9 Delaware, 91-82, in the 2017 Colonial Athletic Association Men's Basketball Championship quarterfinals early Saturday at the North Charleston Coliseum.
The Seahawks, 27-5, will take on fourth-seeded William & Mary on Sunday at 2 p.m. after Tribe seniors Daniel Dixon and Omar Prewitt each scored 20 points in a 71-66 victory over No. 5-seeded Elon in Saturday's second quarterfinal.
UNCW advances to the semis of the postseason event for the third straight year under Head Coach Kevin Keatts. The Seahawks are a perfect 5-0 against Delaware in the CAA Tournament following Saturday's triumph before a large Teal & Blue contingent.
The Seahawks placed five men in double figures for the sixth time this season, led by sophomore guard C.J. Bryce's 17 points. Junior playmaker Jordon Talley scored 16 points, including 12-of-15 at the free throw line, senior guard Denzel Ingram scored 15, senior guard Chris Flemmings pumped in 14 and sophomore forward Devontae Cacok finished with 13 points.
CAA Rookie-of-the-Year Ryan Daly of Delaware led all scorers with 24 points and added 10 rebounds. Junior guard Anthony Mosley contributed 20 points and sophomore guard Darian Bryant wound up with 14 points for the Blue Hens, who shot 57.7 percent from the floor.
"The first game in the tournament for every school is always a tough one and we had the noon game," reflected third-year UNCW Head Coach Kevin Keatts. "I'm glad that one's over.
"Delaware just made plays. We wanted to limit (Ryan) Daly's touches in the second half. He hurt us in the first half, so we went away from our philosophy a little bit by denying him and making the other guys make some plays. "I thought we played with great energy during the key stretch in the second half, and we shared the basketball." The Seahawks shot 48.4 percent in the first half, but warmed up in the final period with 53.8 percent to break away from the Blue Hens.
After taking a 41-32 lead into the break after a late flurry in the first half, the Seahawks expanded the lead to 10 points on an alley-oop layup at 14:53 by Cacok, who did not miss a shot in 17 field goal attempts vs. the Blue Hens in three meetings this season.
Reserve guard Cazmon Hayes answered with a putback at 14:21 for the Blue Hens, but the Seahawks scored 14 of the next 16 points to create some breathing room. UNCW's largest lead of the game came at the back end of the 14-2 run when Ingram swished a trifecta on the right wing to pad the lead to 69-49 with 9:27 on the clock. The stubborn Blue Hens refused to go away and rattled off a 14-2 spurt to close within seven points, 74-67, on a pair of free throws by Anthony Mosley at 4:15. Delaware crept within seven points on two other occasions before the Seahawks, behind Talley, closed out the win.
Daly carried the Blue Hens early and kept the Blue Hens close throughout much of the first period. After Ingram's triple along the left wing staked the Seahawks to a 15-8 advantage just five minutes into the contest, Daly, who made his first three field goals attempts, answered with a trey and a bank shot to slice the margin to 15-13 at 13:55.
The pesky Blue Hens stayed within striking distance and trailed just 35-32 after a Daly jumper with 2:22 remaining. Delaware, however, went scoreless the remainder of the period and the Seahawks closed out the half with six unanswered points for a 41-32 lead at the break.
Daly led all scorers at halftime with 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting. The Blue Hens shot 55.0 percent and drained 8-of-12 free throws to stay close.
GAME NOTES: The Seahawks are now 37-26 in 33 appearances in the CAA Tournament…UNCW is 20-6 in CAA quarterfinal games…UNCW won the battle of the boards, 33-26…Nine different players scored for UNCW…The Seahawks went 18-for-25 at the charity stripe in the second half…The Seahawks are seeking their sixth CAA title…UNCW is already assured of an NIT invitation after winning the CAA's regular season championship for the third straight season…UNCW is the top seed for the sixth time and stands 13-2 with that seed…Coach Kevin Keatts stands 5-1 in CAA Tournament games…UNCW is 20-8 against current CAA members in the CAA Tournament.
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