UNCW outlasts Hofstra in OT to claim CAA Title - Mar 8, 2016
UNCW freshman guard C.J. Bryce (6'5''-G)'s three-point play with 1:20 left in overtime put his team in front to stay, and the Seahawks went on to beat Hofstra 80-73 after overcoming a 12-point second-half deficit Monday in the title game of the Colonial Athletic Association Men's Basketball Championship at Royal Farms Arena. With the victory, second-seeded UNCW secured the conference's automatic NCAA Tournament bid and won its fifth CAA crown. The Seahawks raised their season record to 25-7 while top-seeded Hofstra fell to 24-9. UNCW trailed 52-40 with 15:33 left in the second half but limited the Pride to three field goals during the remainder of regulation and never trailed during overtime. Bryce hit on a layup off an assist from junior guard Denzel Ingram (6'0''-PG), was fouled and connected on the free throw for a 76-73 UNCW lead at the 1:20 mark of the extra period. Ingram then gave the Seahawks a 79-73 lead with a three-pointer with just 34 seconds to go. Hofstra hit 18 of its first 31 shots from the field and took a 52-40 lead on a layup by sophomore forward Rokas Gustys (6'9''-F-94). The Pride still led 56-48 after layups by Gustys at the 13:03 and 12:30 marks but didn't have another field goal until the final two minutes of regulation and only two during overtime. Hofstra finished with a 41.1 percent (23-56) shooting mark. While Hofstra struggled offensively late in the game, UNCW hit on 13 of its final 24 shots after connecting on just 17 of its first 45 and finished with a 43.5 percent (30-69) shooting effort. Redshirt senior guard Craig Ponder (6'1''-G) led UNCW's comeback with 16 of his team-high 20 points during the final 16:37 of regulation and was among four players to score in double figures for the Seahawks. Junior guard Chris Flemmings (6'5''-G), the tournament's most outstanding player, had 19 points and six rebounds for the Seahawks, Ingram added 17 points and six assists, and redshirt junior center C.J. Gettys tallied 10 points. Hofstra got a game-high 24 points and six rebounds from senior forward/guard Ameen Tanksley (6'5''-G), 18 points and a tournament record 23 rebounds from Gustys and 13 points from Green. UNCW hit on eight of its first 12 shots while taking an 18-11 lead by the 13:42 mark of the first half behind nine points from Ingram, but Hofstra came right back with a 19-2 burst to grab a 30-20 lead at 7:33 of the first half. After the hot-shooting start, UNCW hit only one of its next 13 field goal attempts and finished the first half shooting only 39.5 percent (15-38). Hofstra shot 57.7 percent (15-26) during the opening half and got 17 points from Tanksley before the break. The overtime was the first in a CAA championship game since 2005. UNCW also won CAA championships and advanced to NCAA post-season during the 1999-2000, 2001-02, 2002-03 and 2005-06 seasons. The Seahawks were playing in their 10th CAA title game and Hofstra in its second. The last championship game appearance for both had been in 2005-06. Flemmings scored 53 points in UNCW's three tournament games. He hit on 18 of 33 shots and had 13 rebounds. CAA Tournament Final: UNCW - Hofstra 80-73, OT CAA Tournament Semifinals: Hofstra - William & Mary 70-67 UNCW - Northeastern 73-70
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