On senior day at Hofstra the visiting Seahawks, behind senior leader Chris Flemmings and sophomore rising star CJ Bryce, took down the Pride and solidified their hold atop the conference.
Early on, the Seahawks used constant full court pressure and terrific on ball defense to stymie the Hofstra attack and gain a six-point advantage five minutes into the ballgame. Relying on their speed and quickness as well as their length, UNCW made it tough on Hofstra to bring the ball upcourt and get into their offensive sets. That, together with making 5-of-10 three pointers, and having no turnovers kept the Pride at bay for the majority of the first half. UNCW took a 46-38 at intermission.
Hofstra got back in the game as they attacked the rim repeatedly midway through the second half seeing as UNCW had no dominant defensive post presence. The Pride used good hard cuts and led by the slashing play of sophomore guard Justin Wright-Foreman, who finished with a team high 26 points, and the tough inside play of junior big Rokas Gustys, fought back to cut the lead to two on three separate occasions.
After an early spurt to begin the second stanza, Hofstra was unable to capitalize on the Seahawk offensive miscues to get closer than two. But Flemmings, who had 18 in the first half, finally got going with his first basket at the 14:35 mark. That keyed UNCW to boost the lead back to eleven with 9:13 left. They move the ball around the perimeter very well behind guards Denzel Ingram and Jordon Talley and defensively clamped down on both Gustys and senior sharpshooter Brian Bernardi, whose lone hoop was a three in the first half.
With 6:14 remaining a tight game got very chippy and hotly contested with double technicals handed out to Gustys and UNCW reserve big man Chuck Ogbodo, who engaged in a minor scuffle after a loose ball. After the Pride got it to four with less than five minutes to play Bryce went to work. He was 6-of-8 from the line and made two clutch field goals to keep the Seahawks in front the rest of the way.
UNCW (24-5, 13-3 CAA) was paced by Flemmings with a game high 27 and Bryce added 23. Foreman led Hofstra (13-16, 5-11 in the CAA) with 26 and Gustys put up another double-double with 14 points and 12 boards but was very quiet in the second half. The Seahawks ability to defend, score the ball and the fact that seniors and juniors get the most playing time will make them a tough opponent both in the upcoming conference tournament and whichever postseason tourney they qualify for. They represent being a mid major quite well.
This article was written by Ken Eisenman, a correspondent and scout for NetScouts Basketball. You can subscribe to our RSS feed from the upper right corner of our home page, follow us on Facebook, or on twitter.
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