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Seahawks Douse Flames For 3rd Straight

• UNCW 87 Liberty 76 - 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.
• UNCW 80 Wingate 61 - Junior forward Cedrick Williams scored 13 points and senior forward Shane Reybold hauled in a career-high 19 rebounds to fuel UNCW past NCAA Division II foe Wingate, 80-61, in men’s basketball action Saturday night at Trask Coliseum.
The Seahawks evened their record at 2-2 heading into a three-game road trip next week, beginning with a 7 p.m. Monday date at Liberty. The Bulldogs dipped to 0-2 after losing to Mount Olive in their season debut last week.
Williams made 6-of-8 shots and added six rebounds to reach double figures in scoring for the fourth time in as many games this season. Junior guard Freddie Jackson pitched in 10 points while Reyold and junior wing Addison Spruill chipped in nine points apiece.
Reybold’s monster effort on the boards highlighted a 55-35 rebounding margin for the Seahawks as graduate student Ben Eblen pulled down seven caroms and Williams and sophomore Luke Hager snared six boards apiece.
Senior Deion Turman tallied 13 points and sophomore Xavier Griffin added 12 for Wingate. Freshman Isiah Cureton joined the duo in double figures with 10 points and freshman Keith Griffin added 11 rebounds.
In the first meeting between the two teams, the Seahawks scored their highest point total in the first half this season, racking up 44 points, and poured it on after the break, leading by as many as 22 points in the contest.
UNCW scored seven of the first nine points of the second period to increase the margin to 51-32 on a triple from the left wing by Chris Dixon with just over 18 minutes left to play.
Reybold was a beast on the boards for the Seahawks in the first half as UNCW took advantage of Wingate’s cold shooting to build a 44-30 halftime advantage. The Bulldogs shot just 24.3 percent in the first stanza on 9-of-37 field goals.
The junior from Scaggsville, Md., scored just five points, but pulled down 12 rebounds in the opening 20 minutes.
With the game knotted at 7-all, the Seahawks reeled off seven unanswered points to take a 14-7 margin and broke away with a 14-4 spurt late in the first period.
A conventional three-point play by Reybold with 4:11 remaining gave the Seahawks their largest lead of the first half, 40-24.
UNCW wound up shooting 46.0 percent on the night, compared to just 28.4 percent for Wingate.
GAME NOTES: The Seahawks improved to 38-13 in home openers…UNCW won its home debut for the second straight year…Buzz Peterson is now 12-1 against non-Division I opponents…The Seahawks are 201-217 all-time against North Carolina foes…Buzz Peterson has won three of his four home openers at UNCW…Reybold’s 19 rebounds matched the fourth highest single-game total in school history…Jackson reached double figures in points for the first time this season…The Seahawks’ bench tallied half of the team’s 80 points in the contest…The Bulldogs were 18-of-23 (.783) from the free-throw line while the Seahawks were 17-of-26 (.654)…UNCW lost senior guard Tanner Milson to an ankle sprain late in the contest.