WILMINGTON, NC (UNCW) — Reining Colonial Athletic Association Rookie-of-the-Week C.J. Bryce posted his second straight career scoring high with 24 points to power UNCW past Campbell, 106-83, in the 101st meeting between the two longtime state rivals Monday at Trask Coliseum.
The Seahawks, playing the first of three games in six days after the Christmas holiday, won their third in a row to improve to 8-3 on the season. It marked the third time this season and the second time in three outings that the Seahawks eclipsed the century mark in scoring.
The Camels of the Big South Conference lost their second straight and stand 7-5 this season. Campbell dropped its eighth straight to the Seahawks at Trask Coliseum.
“I thought we adjusted and played a tremendous second half,” said Kevin Keatts, UNCW’s second-year head coach, whose club lit up the scoreboard with a season-high 65 points after intermission. “We went into halftime and we wanted to drive the basketball and get into the paint. We were very aggressive in the second half.”
Bryce, a 6-5, 185-pound guard out of Charlotte, N.C., was named the CAA’s top newcomer earlier in the day and celebrated by going 9-of-17, including 4-of-5 behind the arc, and collecting six rebounds to give UNCW five players in double figures for the fifth time this season.
Junior guard Chris Flemmings added 18 points and sophomore playmaker Jordon Talley had 15 for UNCW, which won its seventh straight over the Camels at Trask Coliseum. Redshirt senior guard Craig Ponder and junior guard Denzel Ingram also chipped in 13 points apiece in a balanced attack.
Flemmings, a transfer from Barton, recorded UNCW’s second double-double of the season with a game-high 12 rebounds to go along with his 18 points.
Redshirt sophomore forward Shane Whitfield anchored six CU players in double figures with 16 points. Junior guard Kyre’ Hamer scored 15, freshman guard Chris Clemons and senior forward Rod Days added 12 points each and senior center D.J. Mason and sophomore guard Troy Harper had 11 markers.
UNCW shot 41.2 percent in carving out a 41-36 halftime lead and then torched the nets for 69.4 percent on 25-of-36 shooting in the second half to break open a close game. The torrid shooting included 7-of-10 behind the arc after break as the Seahawks finished 9-of-18 from deep for the contest.
After UNCW built a 41-36 lead at intermission behind 13 points from Flemmings, both teams heated up in the opening minutes of the final period. The Seahawks went 4-of-5 from the field and the Camels went 5-of-6 from the floor in the first four minutes of the final half.
CU was still hanging with UNCW and Whitfield’s layup with 15:25 closed the gap to 53-49 before the Seahawks responded with eight consecutive points and the rout was on.
Talley started the decisive run with a trifecta along the right wing and reserve forward Trey Grundy picked up a loose ball and converted the layup as the lead swelled to 61-49 at 13:49. The rally was part of a 17-4 spurt that helped the Seahawks jump ahead, 70-53, when Grundy scored on an inbounds play at 11:01.
UNCW later enjoyed its largest lead of the game with 32 seconds left to play when freshman Mark Matthews found fellow rookie Devontae Cacok for an alley oop dunk and a 106-80 bulge.
Bryce gave the Seahawks their first lead of the game, 7-6, when he drained a triple from the left corner with 16:33 left in the first half.
The Seahawks extended the margin to 22-14 with a 7-0 mini-run midway through the period. Reserve center C.J. Gettys converted both ends of a bonus situation with 9:31 on the clock to give UNCW an early cushion.
But the Camels reeled off five straight points and sliced the deficit to 22-19 when Days connected on the first of two free throws at 8:31.
UNCW was still in front, 29-26, when Ingram, Bryce and Matthews connected on baskets to push the lead to 35-26. A driving layup by Matthews in traffic with 4:05 left in the opening frame extended the led to nine points.
After Ingram’s jumper in front of the Campbell bench made the score 40-31, the Camels closed the gap to 40-36 with 36 tickets left in the first half before Ponder hit a free throw to give UNCW a 41-36 advantage at halftime.
The Seahawks continue their three-game home stand on Thursday by starting Colonial Athletic Association play with Drexel in a 1 p.m. New Year’s Eve clash. The Camels visit conference foe Winthrop on Thursday for a 1 p.m. tip-off.
GAME NOTES: The Seahawks lead the overall series by a 58-43 margin…UNCW owns a 23-2 advantage at Trask Coliseum…Campbell went 3-of-4 from deep in the first half and Days had all three triples…A crowd of 4,396 – the largest of the season – witnessed the game…It was the seventh double digit win of the season for the Seahawks…Jordon Talley contributed a season-high 15 points and three assists in 21 minutes…Ten different players scored for UNCW…The Seahawks scored 52 points in the paint…UNCW’s bench outscored its counterparts, 54-18…UNCW won the rebounding battle, 41-36…The point total represented a season-high for the Seahawks…It was the largest margin of victory for the Seahawks in the series since a 75-52 victory on Nov. 30, 2004.