Seahawks Stage Block Party In Trask Coliseum To Stymie Pirates, 66-54

By / Local Sports / Wednesday, 24 December 2014 05:00

WILMINGTON, North Carolina – UNCW handcuffed rival East Carolina on 28.1 percent shooting and set a season high with 11 blocks to shackle the Pirates, 66-54, in a holiday men's basketball clash Saturday night at Trask Coliseum.
The Seahawks won their second straight game to improve to 5-3 on the season and won for the 12th time in the last 13 meetings against their rivals at Trask Coliseum. The Pirates dipped under .500 with the loss and stand 5-6 on the campaign.
"I thought we did a lot of the little things tonight," said first-year UNCW Head Coach Kevin Keatts. "The one thing that we wanted to do was to play with intensity all the time. I thought we played hard on both ends of the floor tonight."
UNCW controlled the majority of the game, leading for the final 33 minutes, and rallied behind the defensive play of Cedrick Williams, C.J. Gettys and Chuck Ogbodo who combined for the most blocks this season by the club. Williams and Ogbodo paced the block party with four rejections apiece.  Senior forward Freddie Jackson paced three Seahawks in double figures with 14 points and added 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the season. Junior guard Craig Ponder collected 12 points, three rebounds and three assists and senior guard Addison Spruill contributed 11 points. Williams just missed his seventh career double-double with nine points and a game-high 12 boards. Junior guard Terry Whisnant, a transfer from Florida State, was the only Pirate in double figures with 18 points. UNCW used an aggressive defense and solid shooting to build a 10-point advantage at halftime and built on the lead early in the second half. Sparked by Spruill, the Seahawks raised the advantage to 42-28 – its largest lead of the game - at 15:31 on a strong inside move by Spruill.
Paris Roberts-Campbell helped the Pirates climb within, 51-41, with 7:56 left to play by sinking a jumper over Dylan Sherwood along the left baseline and converting a free throw for the conventional three-point play. The Pirates then chopped the lead under 10 points when Roberts-Campbell drained a 10-footer on the left elbow to make the score 51-43.
But UNCW responded behind a pair of free throws by freshman playmaker Jordon Talley and a jumper by Spruill to get the margin back to 55-43 at the 4:35 mark.
ECU managed to slice the deficit to seven points twice in the final two minutes, the last on B.J. Tyson's shot in the paint at 1:12, but the Seahawks scored the final five points of the game to close out the win.
Both teams started out cold from the floor. ECU made its first attempt – a three-pointer by Whisnant – before missing 10 consecutive shots. UNCW started out 2-of-8 and grabbed an early 6-3 advantage on Ponder's driving layup with 16:19 left in the first half.
 While the Pirates, who made three of their first 15 attempts, remained cold, the Seahawks gained some early separation with a 9-0 run midway through the period. Talley started the spurt with a three-pointer on the left wing and a pair of free throws by Williams staked UNCW to a 16-9 edge with just under 10 minutes remaining in the opening stanza. The Seahawk lead swelled to 25-13 when freshman guard Malik Pugh slipped through the ECU interior defense and dropped in a finger roll that capped a 19-4 run at the 6:03 mark. UNCW then took a 33-23 margin into intermission after shooting 50 percent and holding the Pirates to just 22.6 percent on 7-of-31 field goals. Jackson had 10 points in the first period on 4-of-6 shooting to nail down his seventh double figure outing of the season. UNCW, which entered the game ranked 21st in the NCAA in field goal percentage, shot 46.7 percent on the night on 21-of-45 field goals and connected on 5-of-14 behind the arc. The Seahawks conclude the pre-Christmas portion of their schedule on Tuesday with their 100th meeting against longtime state foe Campbell in Buies Creek. The Pirates, meanwhile, entertain Florida A&M on Monday at Minges Coliseum in Greenville.
GAME NOTES: The Pirates were making their first appearance in Wilmington since Dec. 3, 2008…UNCW leads the all-time series by a 34-27 margin…East Carolina's post players went 1-of-12 from the field…The Seahawks held a narrow 40-29 edge on the glass…The 54 points represented the lowest point total for the Pirates in the series since a 59-44 loss on Dec. 5, 2006…UNCW had three players with four fouls…ECU's largest lead of the game was three points and came with 13:37 left in the first half…ECU's Jeff Lebo remains winless in two tries against UNCW…Cedrick Williams and Freddie Jackson each played 36 minutes in the victory…ECU had 21 offensive rebounds.


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