WILMINGTON, NC (UNCWSPORTS.COM) — The surging UNCW men’s basketball team puts its five-game winning streak on the line against Campbell on Wednesday in the 102nd meeting between the two longtime state foes at the Pope Convocation Center in Buies Creek.
The Seahawks, featuring a robust NCAA RPI of No. 10, raised their record to 8-1 last Saturday with a hard-earned 81-80 victory against St. Bonaventure in Olean, N.Y., matching the best start in school history in 1992-93. A win in Wednesday’s tip-off will make this year’s club the first to open a season at 9-1.
“It’s a big stretch coming up,” said third-year Head Coach Kevin Keatts. “Our motto’s been that we take everything short and sweet. When you have a stretch like this, you just have to take it one game at a time, and certainly our focus has been on Campbell.”
The Camels bring a 5-4 record into Wednesday’s tilt and last played on Dec. 4 when Kevin McGeehan’s club beat The Citadel in Charleston, 97-91. After opening the season with three losses in their first four games, the Camels have won four of their last five contests.
For the second straight game, the Seahawks are facing one of the nation’s best point producers. Versatile sophomore guard Chris Clemmons enters the contest as the nation’s fourth leading scorer at 24.0 points per game. Shane Whitfield gives the Camels another scoring threat at 11.8 ppg.
Clemmons posted his 19th career 20-point game in 39 appearances in Campbell’s narrow win over the Bulldogs. The Raleigh, N.C., product ranks eighth in the nation in three-point field goals made with 3.78 per outing.
“It seems like we’re playing everybody that has an elite guard,” added Keatts, whose club faced St. Bonaventure’s talented Jaylen Adams last Saturday in Olean, N.Y. “Chris Clemons is a very good guard and he makes them go. He does a little bit of everything for them. He can rebound the basketball, can shoot deep from three and passes the ball to get everyone involved.
“They’re a very good basketball team because they have a unique style. They run a version of the Princeton style, which is always tough to matchup up against. Defensively, they do a great job of mixing their defenses up. “
UNCW is seeking its first victory at the Pope Center after dropping contests in 2013 and 2015. Overall, the Seahawks lead the all-time series, 58-43, but the two teams have alternated wins and losses over the last eight matchups.
Senior guard Denzel Ingram poured in a game-high 19 points and knocked down the game-winner with less than two seconds remaining to lift the Seahawks past the Bonnies for their first win over an Atlantic-10 Conference opponent since early in the 2010-11 season. The Chapel Hill, N.C., product collected Colonial Athletic Association Player-of-the-Week honors for his outstanding play.
The Seahawks carry a balanced attack into their fourth true road game of the new season. Senior guard Chris Flemmings tops five players in double digits with 19.2 ppg, followed by sophomore guard C.J. Bryce (16.9), sophomore forward Devontae Cacok (13.4), Ingram (12.4) and junior guard Jordon Talley (10.0).
Flemmings, from Cary, N.C., has reached double figures in all nine games and has scored in double figures in the last 14 games spanning over to last season – the longest active streak in the CAA.
Live Seahawk Digital Network (SDN) coverage of Wednesday’s UNCW-CU contest begins with the pregame show at 6:45 p.m. Simply visit UNCWsports.com, click on the “Live Events” button in the top right-hand corner and follow the prompts for a free audio feed of the contest. In addition, a radio broadcast of the game can be heard on WLSG 94.1 FM and 1340 AM (Wilmington) and WSME 97.1 FM and 1120 AM (Jacksonville).
Season tickets remain available by visiting the UNCW Athletics Ticket Office in Trask Coliseum, calling 1-800-808-UNCW or clicking on the Tickets button via UNCWSports.com. Tickets start as low as $99, with 5 and 8-game mini-plans also available.
For more information on the UNCW men’s basketball team throughout the 2016-17 season, visit UNCWsports.com and click on the Men’s Basketball button. Additional information is also available on UNCW’s social media channels: Facebook (UNCW Men’s Basketball), Twitter (@UNCWmenshoops), Instagram (UNCWBasketball).