UNCW fends off Hofstra to remain unbeaten in CAA

Noah Thomas, Sports Editor

C.J. Bryce said after Thursday’s win vs. William and Mary that this UNC Wilmington team has to take things one game at a time and not focus on what it can do further down the road.

His three-point dagger with 40 seconds remaining in Saturday’s game vs. Hofstra helped secure the Seahawks’ 84-76 victory, keeping them unbeaten in the Colonial Athletic Association.

“It felt good (coming out of my hands),” Bryce said. “It wasn’t a really good shooting night for me, but I had a mismatch and made a good shot.”

UNCW (17-2, 6-0 CAA) faced adversity from the get-go against the Pride. Foul trouble benched Devontae Cacok early, forcing Kevin Keatts to rely on his bench for heavy minutes.

Jordan Talley scored six of his eight points from the free-throw line, including some major baskets down the stretch that kept the game out of reach. Ambrose Mosley continued his hot hand behind the arc, finishing with 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting.

Senior standouts Denzel Ingram and Chris Flemmings led the charge, though, finishing with 20 and 18 points, respectively. The two shot a combined 11-of-29 from the floor.

“I thought the game was exciting. It was intense,” Ingram said. “We knew it was going to come down to a couple possessions and we were going to have to make some plays defensively and offensively.”

It may have been minor in the long run, but Jaylen Fornes’s basket with under four minutes to go in the first half sparked a UNCW offensive turnaround for the second-straight game.

The freshman’s lone bucket of the afternoon tied the game at 34, leading to the Seahawks’ first lead just a minute later on an Ingram three-pointer.

“He’s practicing at a high level,” Keatts said of Fornes. “What happens with freshmen is that in order for them to play in college, they have to become solid on the defensive end. He’s starting to become that.”

Hofstra (9-10, 1-5) faced a two-point halftime deficit it was never able to overcome despite a monster double-double from Rokas Gustys (15 points, 16 rebounds). Devon Powers tied Ingram for a game-high 20 points on 6-of-14 shooting, but The Pride continue to search for an identity during a down year.

The Seahawks remain atop the CAA in a two-way tie with College of Charleston, pending the result of the Cougars’ game vs. William and Mary Saturday evening.

The two schools will square-off in a regionally televised game this Thursday at 7 p.m on the American Sports Network.