Wildcats Edge Seahawks In See-Saw Battle
Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications
WILMINGTON, North Carolina - Davidson used its long distance prowess, outscoring UNCW by a 21-0 margin behind the arc, to outlast the Seahawks, 70-67, in a see-saw men's basketball matinee Saturday at Trask Coliseum.
The Wildcats, picked to win the South Division of the Southern Conference, won their second straight to improve to 4-1. The Seahawks fell to 0-4 on the new season and dropped their first two home games of the campaign.
Davidson went 7-for-24 behind the arc, while holding the Seahawks to 0-for-3 from long range. It marked the first time since Nov. 24, 1996, that the Seahawks did not make a 3-point field goal, dating back to an 0-for-6 performance against Alaska-Fairbanks in the inaugural Top of the World Classic, a streak of 462 games.
Junior guard JP Kulhman paced three Wildcats in double figures with 19 points, followed by sophomore forward De'Mon Brooks with 14. Junior guard Nik Cochran added 13 for Davidson, which won for the first time in three tries in Wilmington.
The Wildcats were clinging to a 68-66 edge before being called for a shot clock violation with 13.4 seconds left. Smith then drove the right side and his missed field goal attempt was rebounded by Williams, who was fouled on the play. Williams made the first of two free throws with two seconds on the clock, but his second attempt bounced off the rim.
Kuhlman was fouled on the ensuing possession and made both free throws with one second on the clock before the Seahawks missed a desperation shot.
Davidson took a slim 35-34 lead into halftime behind Kuhlman's 15 points and the two teams, playing for the first time since 1995, locked in a tight duel over final 20 minutes.
No more than three points separated the clubs until Brooks strung together five straight points to put the Wildcats on top, 53-50. Cochran made a nifty dish to Brooks for a layup with 9:40 remaining and Davidson forged out to a three-point lead.
The Wildcats stretched the advantage to 58-53 on a putback by Brooks at 8:27 before the Seahawks regained the lead. Sophomore forward Donte Morales converted both ends of a bonus situation, Trevor Deloach scored on a putback and Williams made two free throws at the charity stripe to give UNCW a 64-62 edge at 5:34.
Davidson took the lead again briefly and nailed down the road win, despite having three of its players - Brooks, Cochran and Jake Cohen - disqualified with five personal fouls.
In the first half, the Seahawks jumped out quickly to a 10-2 margin by making six of their first eight shots and taking advantage of four Davidson turnovers. Smith capped a 6-0 run with an eight-footer on the right wing to give UNCW an early eight-point cushion with just over 16 minutes remaining.
While the Wildcats struggled from the floor early, the Seahawks maintained control in the opening period. Freshman guard Craig Ponder tossed in the first of two free throws with 11:22 left in the period to give the Seahawks a 16-9 edge.
Davidson chipped away at the deficit and Tom Droney's long three-ball from the top of the key with 10:15 left sliced the lead to 16-12. The Wildcats then narrowed the lead to 20-18 when Brooks hit a runner, was fouled and converted a free throw at 8:31. Brooks then tied the game at 20-all with a jumper over Williams on the right baseline with 7:46 remaining.
Senior guard Will Reigel gave Davidson its first lead of the contest, 22-20, by draining both ends of a bonus situation at 7:08.
The Seahawks wound up shooting 50 percent on the day on 24-for-48 shooting. The Wildcats went 26-for-61 for 41 percent.
UNCW opens a four-game road swing on Wednesday with a 7 p.m. clash at Toledo. Davidson is idle until Dec. 1 when the Wildcats visit Wofford for a 7 p.m. tip.
GAME NOTES: The Seahawks had seven assists on 24 baskets ... UNCW outrebounded Davidson, 37-34 ... The Seahawks had nine blocks in the contest, including five by Cedrick Williams ... Five Seahawks collected at least four rebounds ... Four players fouled out of the contest ... UNCW shot 52.4 percent in the second half ... UNCW leads the all-time series, 5-2 ... Buzz Peterson is 5-7 against Davidson and 77-27 against Southern Conference foes ... The Seahawks are now 4-5 on Nov. 26 in their hoops history.