|Seahawks Douse Flames For Third Straight|
LYNCHBURG, Virginia – UNCW’s backcourt tandem of Addison Spruill and Tanner Milson combined for 47 points and the Seahawks converted 31-of-41 free throws to outslug Liberty, 87-76, in a scrappy non-conference men’s basketball game Monday night at the Vines Center.
The Seahawks won their third consecutive game and second straight on the road to improve to 3-2 on the season. The Flames dropped their third straight to plummet to 1-3.
Spruill, a junior college transfer, scored 14 of his game-high 24 points in the second half to share scoring honors with Liberty’s Davon Marshall. Milson added 23 points, including 16 in the opening half, while Ben Eblen and Cedrick Williams contributed 13 and 10 for the winners.
Marshall, a senior guard, paced the Flames with 24 points on 8-of-15 shooting. Senior guard John Caleb Sanders was the only other player in double digits for LU with 13.
In a game that featured 56 fouls and a whopping 76 free throw attempts, the Seahawks led wire-to-wire to win for the third time in as many tries against the Flames. Fourth-year UNCW Head Coach Buzz Peterson also stayed perfect against Liberty, improving his record to 7-0 against the Virginia-based club.
The Seahawks have reeled off their first three-game winning streak since sweeping four straight games from Dec. 30, 2011, to Jan. 7, 2012.
“I never felt confortable until they missed some shots at the end under 20 seconds,” said Peterson. “We were very flat to start the second half. Tanner had a tremendous first half and Ben did a nice job of making some plays.”
The Seahawks scored more than 80 points for the third straight game after opening the season with sub-par offensive performances in a Midwestern road trip to Iowa and Iowa State.
The Seahawks shot a season-best 52.1 percent from the floor and missed just 10 free throws in 41 attempts for 75.6 percent at the charity stripe. The Flames, meanwhile, struggled early, shooting 29.6 percent in the first half, and improved after intermission to finish at 41.8 percent.
UNCW jumped out to a 36-25 lead at the break behind Milson, who scored 16 points in the period after totaling just 21 points through the first four games of the season. The first of his five three-pointers on the night gave the Seahawks a 14-9 edge and after he sank three free throws in succession, the Cedar Hill, Texas, product drained another triple to give UNCW a 20-9 cushion at the 10-minute mark of the first half.
UNCW then carried an 11-point lead into the break after scoring the final five points of the half, including a 50-foot heave by Milson at the buzzer that electrified the 1,731 fans in attendance.
In the second half, the Flames managed to score the first five points of the period to close the gap to 36-30, but Eblen’s gliding layup with 15:56 remaining delivered the largest lead of the game for the Seahawks, 42-30.
UNCW still led, 51-41, when Spruill connected on a pair of free throws with 11:44 remaining before the Flames rallied. LU chipped away at the lead and closed to within, 58-54, on Tomasz Gielo’s first basket of the game at 7:59. However, UNCW used a 10-3 run to stretch the lead back to 68-57 on Milson’s fifth trifecta with 5:40 left.
The Seahawks sealed the game with solid free throw shooting down the stretch, going a perfect 10-for-10 at the foul line in the final 1:36.
GAME NOTES: The Seahawks had just nine turnovers in the game and only four in the first half…Williams has reached double figures in scoring in all five games this season…Seven Seahawks finished with at least three fouls…UNCW’s bench contributed 33 points…Each team made six three-pointers…LU pulled down 10 offensive rebounds…Eblen led the Seahawks in assists with five dimes…The Seahawks scored 22 points off turnovers…Spruill and Shane Reybold paced the Seahawks on the glass with five rebounds apiece…LU reserve JR Coronado had a game-high 12 rebounds.