The UNC-Wilmington Seahawks kept their March Madness bid alive with a 91-82 win over CAA opponent the Elon Phoenix.
After starting out 1-2 in CAA conference play with losses to the Northeastern Huskies and Towson Tigers, the Seahawks have bounced back with two straight wins against the Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens and now Elon.
Maverick B. recaps tonight’s game by looking at several key areas, including the biggest coaching difference, how UNC-Wilmington came out with the win, and what’s up ahead on the schedule for the Seahawks and Phoenix,
If the Seahawks wanted to win tonight over Elon, they were going to need to shut down Elon’s top scorer, Tanner Samson.
Samson entered tonight’s game averaging 15.6 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, while shooting 44.2% from three point range. Tonight, UNC-Wilmington limited Samson’s scoring chances. Samson was limited to just 8 points and 5 rebounds, while shooting 25% from three point range and committing 3 fouls.
The Seahawks also did a good job tonight limiting not only Samson’s chances from three point range, but the entire Phoenix team as a whole. Elon only made 38.1% (8 of 21) from beyond the arc tonight.
One of the biggest factors tonight for the Seahawks, and a big reason why they were able to come out with the win, was a starting lineup change.
The change was that UNC-Wilmington head coach Kevin Keatts used his 12th different starting lineup this season in sixteen games played. The starting five were Chris Flemmings, Jordon Talley, Denzel Ingram, C.J.Bryce, and C.J. Gettys . This meant expected starters of guard Craig Ponder, wing Dylan Sherwood, and forward Marcus Bryan would be coming off the bench.
The change seemed to work, and all parties put together a rather impressive night. Craig Ponder tonight finished with a stat line of 21 points, 5 assists and 4 steals, while shooting 61.5% (8-of-13) from the floor. Dylan Sherwood finished with a stat line of 2 points and 2 rebounds, and Marcus Bryan finished with the stat line of 4 points, 3 blocks and 4 rebounds.
Another result from Keatts’ lineup tonight was that junior center C.J. Gettys had another impressive performance. Gettys finished tonight with 10 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks, one game after he turned out a similar performance against Delaware (15 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks) less than a week ago.
As for the Phoenix, they fall to 11-7 overall, and 2-3 in conference play, dropping their second straight CAA conference match-up in the process.
Tonight, the Phoenix were lead by junior guard Luke Eddy who finished with a team-high 21 points (on 8-13 field goals), and Christian Hairston’s double-double performance of 14 points and 10 rebounds.
The UNC-Wilmington Seahawks (11-5, 3-2) will return to action at home on Saturday, January 16th at 2pm ET. They will take on the team that is currently atop the CAA standings, the William & Mary Tribe (12-4, 4-1).
The Elon Phoenix will hit the road and return to action on Saturday, January 16th at 4pm ET, when they take on the College of Charleston Cougars (10-6, 2-3).