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Men's Basketball
Seahawks Edge Mountaineers In Wild Season Opener

Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications  
Release: 11/14/2008
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Sophomore forward Dominique Lacy drives past ASU's Kellen Brand Saturday night in the season opener for both teams at Trask Coliseum
View larger Courtesy: Joe Browning

Sophomore forward Dominique Lacy drives past ASU's Kellen Brand Saturday night in the season opener for both teams at Trask Coliseum

         WILMINGTON, N.C. UNC Wilmington rallied from 18 points down in the second half to force overtime and then outscored Appalachian State, 12-5, in the extra period to trim the Mountaineers, 108-101, in a wild men’s college basketball opener for both teams Friday night at Trask Coliseum.


         The Seahawks close out an early two-game homestand Monday in a 7 p.m. clash against Troy. The Mountaineers return to Boone for their home opener Wednesday with a 7 p.m. contest at the Holmes Center.


         Three players broke the 20-point plateau for the Seahawks. Junior guard Johnny Wolf, a transfer from Xavier, poured in 27 points in his first appearance for UNCW and sophomore point guard Chad Tomko matched that total with a new career high, including 22 after the first half. Sophomore forward Dominique Lacy chipped in a career-best 23 points and freshman guard Kevon Moore added 12 points to give the Seahawks four in double figures.


         Sophomore guard Donald Sims anchored five players in double digits for the Mountaineers with 24 points. Senior guard Eduardo Bermudez had 18, junior guard Kellen Brand contributed 15 and junior forward Josh Hunter and sophomore center Isaac Butts had 10 apiece.

         Trailing 85-68 with 6:03 remaining, the Seahawks came all the way back in thriller that set off a celebration by a throng of teal-clad students at midcourt. It was the second consecutive season-opening win in overtime at Trask after last season’s 98-91 nailbiter over the College of Charleston last November.


         A pair of free throws by Brand pushed the margin to 17 points, 85-68, with just over six minutes left before Lacy keyed a 12-0 run that pulled the Seahawks within 85-80. Tomko capped the spurt with a triple from the right corner at 4:36 and the Seahawks were back in it.


         ASU still held a 95-89 edge with 1:09 remaining in regulation when Ryann Abraham sank a pair of free throws. But Wolf made a layup at the other end and a steal and layup by Tomko brought the Seahawks within two, 95-83, with 49 seconds left.


         Sims then made the first of two free throws with 27 ticks left to push the score to 96-93 before Tomko drained a long trey at the top of the key to knot the score at 96-all with 20 seconds showing. Both teams had a final chance to win it in regulation, but Abraham’s floater bounced off the rim with eight seconds left and Moore’s long heave clanged off the rim at the buzzer.


         The Mountaineers scored first in overtime when Bermudez tossed in two free throws, but Lacy answered with two of his own. UNCW then outscored ASU, 10-3, over the final three minutes of overtime to snap a two-game losing streak to ASU.


         ASU controlled the first half en route to a 51-37 lead at the break and kept up the pressure throughout the final period. Butts connected on back-to-back buckets inside to give ASU a 61-45 cushion with 16:45 left before Moore scored five straight points to slice the deficit to 61-50 at 15:05.


         The Mountaineers shot 53.1 percent and built a commanding 30-12 advantage on the boards for its 14-point lead at intermission. UNCW, meanwhile, was cold from the field, connecting on 32.4 percent in the first 20 minutes.


         After Jerel Stephenson’s layup narrowed ASU’s early lead to 12-8, the Mountaineers used two mini-runs to pull away. Brand keyed a 9-2 spurt to push the margin to 21-10 at the 12-minute mark and a pair of free throws by rookie guard Donterious Hughes increased completed a 12-3 run and increased the lead to 33-18 with 7:34 remaining.


         The lead swelled to as many as 18 points before UNCW’s Darion Jeralds converted a conventional three-point play with under a second play to chop the lead to 51-37 at the break.


         The Mountaineers shot 46 percent from the field and went 35-for-44 at the free throw line, but committed 28 turnovers in the contest. The Seahawks made 26-of-36 at the charity stripe and took care of the basketball with just 11 miscues in 45 minutes.


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