UNCW reaches CAA championship with 105-94 win over Tribe

Noah Thomas, Sports Editor

It felt as if every player on the court was locked in, but UNC Wilmington was just a little hotter.

The No. 1 Seahawks topped rival William & Mary 105-94 Sunday afternoon to secure a trip to the CAA Tournament championship. It will be UNCW’s second consecutive trip to the conference final after winning it all in 2016.

Seniors Denzel Ingram and Chris Flemmings both said their team was “locked in” afterward, but the veterans were the ones showing out for UNCW (28-5). They combined for 53 points on 15-of-24 shooting and hit 16 of their 17 free throws in the win.

The game, a back-and-forth track meet throughout, finally saw separation when Ingram canned a jumper over Tribe senior Daniel Dixon. The basket put UNCW up 82-68 with 7:28 remaining, and Ingram was called for a technical foul after a few taunting words sent in the direction of William & Mary (17-14).

“It was just a moment — I just got caught in the moment of a big shot,” he said. “I was just like ‘Come on!’… That’s all it was.”

The Seahawks had little success separating themselves from the Tribe for much of the second half. The two teams continually traded baskets, stalling the other’s momentum at every opportunity.

No. 4 William & Mary shot 65 percent from the floor in the second half compared to UNCW’s 71 percent, but the difference for the Seahawks came at the charity stripe. They converted 28 of 33 attempts at the line Sunday (84.8 percent), including Flemmings hitting on all 13 of his shots.

“We got to the line. The last two games we’ve been very aggressive,” Keatts said. “I think we’ve cut down on our threes a little bit… now we’re getting more free-throw opportunities.”

Omar Prewitt led William & Mary with 24 points in what was likely his final appearance with the Tribe. David Cohn added 18 of his own after going 4-of-6 from beyond the arc.

UNCW advanced to the CAA title game for the 11th time in program history with the win. The Seahawks will face the winner of the second semifinal game between No. 2 College of Charleston and No. 3 Towson.

Notable: UNCW and William & Mary each hit 11 3-pointers Sunday, but it was a key run late in the game that put the Seahawks up by as many as 19 to seal the win.

Quote of the Day: “(Past experience) definitely helps us because we know what it takes to get to the top. We know everything that we’ve got to give and just do it.” — UNCW forward Chris Flemmings.