CHARLESTON, South Carolina – Defending champion and No. 1 seed UNCW exploded for the second most points scored in a Colonial Athletic Association tournament game and outscored fourth-seeded William & Mary, 105-94, in the first of two semifinals on Sunday at the North Charleston Coliseum. The Seahawks, 28-5, advanced to the CAA's title game for the second straight year and 11th time and will take on No. 2-seeded College of Charleston in Monday's championship tilt at 7 p.m. The Cougars trimmed Towson, 67-59, in the second semifinal on Sunday. UNCW has won five consecutive CAA Tournament games spanning over to last season and is making back-to-back championship game appearances for the first time since 2002 and 2003.
The offensive-minded Seahawks, who lead the CAA in scoring offense, were firing on all cylinders on Sunday. The 105 points ranks second all-time in tournament scoring, just short of Old Dominion's tournament-record 110 points in 1995. It also marked the seventh time the Seahawks have eclipsed the century mark this season – a CAA record.
"It was really a good game and the tempo was unbelievable," said Kevin Keatts, UNCW's third-year coach. "What a great game. I told our guys that we were locked in. We did a tremendous job. Our pressure was really good and we shared the basketball.
"We wanted to play fast. We talked about pushing at every opportunity. We did a tremendous job of getting into the paint and getting some free throws. I thought both of our seniors led us tonight."
Seniors Denzel Ingram and Chris Flemmings combined to score 53 points to power the Seahawks. Ingram poured in a game-high 27 points and dished out eight assists. Flemmings added 26 points, including a perfect 13-for-13 at the free throw line that tied a tournament record – and grabbed five boards.
Sophomore guard C.J. Bryce added 16 points and sophomore forward Devontae Cacok chipped in 12 points and six boards for UNCW, which shot 70.8 percent in the second half and 58.9 percent for the game. Senior guard Omar Prewitt anchored five Tribe players in double figures with 24 points. Junior guard David Cohn collected 18 points and five assists, freshman forward Nathan Knight scored 15 points and senior guard Daniel Dixon finished with 10 points and five assists. The Seahawks forged out to a 10-point lead at intermission, 47-37, and survived a couple charges by the Tribe early in the second half before pulling away down the stretch.
William & Mary's Prewitt drained a three-pointer on the left wing with just under 16 minutes remaining to help the Tribe close the gap to 57-51, but the Seahawks, behind Flemmings and Ingram, answered every rally.
UNCW's largest lead came with 2:21 showing when Jordon Talley sank the second of two free throws to pad the margin to 100-81.
Flemmings scored 20 of his 26 points in the final period and Ingram poured in 18 of his 27 points after the break to carry the Seahawks. Flemmings made all 11 of his free throw attempts in the second stanza as UNCW drained 18-of-19 free throws in the half and 28-of-33 for the game.
Talley also sank 7-of-8 free throws on Sunday and has now converted 19-of-23 free throws in the two games of the tourney. The Seahawks prevailed in a see-saw first half that saw 12 lead changes and five ties. Seven different players scored in the first 20 minutes as the Seahawks shot 50 percent and forced seven turnovers to grab an early margin.
The two clubs went back-and-forth early and the Tribe still led, 24-22, following a pair of free throws by Oliver Tot with 10:17 remaining in the first stanza.
But the Seahawks strung together six straight points to retake the lead and an inside bucket by reserve forward Marcus Bryan gave UNCW a 28-24 edge at 7:43.
William & Mary battled back to close the gap to 34-33 behind Cohn, who sank four consecutive baskets, including a three-ball on the left wing that narrowed the deficit to one point with just over four minutes left in the first half.
UNCW, however, reeled off eight straight points to gain some separation while the Tribe went almost five minutes without a field goal. A long triple by Ambrose Mosley capped an 8-0 run and pushed the lead to 42-33 with 2:25 on the clock.
After the Tribe carved the lead to seven points, UNCW scored the final three points of the first half and Cacok sank the first of two free throws with 30 seconds showing to give the Seahawks a 47-37 advantage at the break.
GAME NOTES: The two clubs split a pair of games during the regular season…Seahawks are now 38-26 in 33 appearances in the CAA Tournament… …UNCW has outrebounded its opponents in both games of this year's tournament…The Seahawks had 18 assists on 33 baskets…Eight different players scored for UNCW…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 14-2 with that seed…Coach Kevin Keatts stands 6-1 in CAA Tournament games…UNCW is 21-8 against current CAA members in the CAA Tournament.
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