Wilmington, NC – Sophomore guard Trazarien White exploded for 18 points and snared a career-high 14 rebounds to power the UNCW men’s basketball team to its sixth consecutive victory, 74-61, over longtime rival East Carolina before a sellout crowd Tuesday night at Trask Coliseum.
The Seahawks improved to 7-3 with the non-conference decision and have not lost since a defeat to No. 5 UConn 18 days ago in Storrs, Conn. The Pirates lost for the third time in four outings and stand 6-4 on the season.
White achieved his second double-double of the season and the fourth gem of his career in the first half and added a pair of assists to fill up the stat sheet. The Mansfield, Texas, product converted 10-for-17 at the free throw, attempting 14 free throws in the first half alone.
Senior guard Maleeck Hardein-Hayes chipped in 12 points and five boards off the bench for the Seahawks, who shot 51.2 percent on the night, including 55.6 percent in the key final period.
Sophomore guard Javon Small paced the Pirates with a game-high 19 points, followed by freshman forward Ezra Ausar with 12 points and seven rebounds. The Pirates, who averaged 9.3 three-point field goals per game entering the contest, managed just 2-for-14 from long distance and missed all six of their long range tries in the first half.
In the opening leg of a three-game homestand and the 68th meeting between the two eastern North Carolina foes, the Seahawks broke away late in the first half and increased the margin to as many as 23 points in the final period to avenge an overtime loss to the Pirates two years ago in Greenville.
The Seahawks relied on their trademark defense and impressive depth to register their fourth double-digit victory of the new campaign. The Pirates struggled through their second lowest offensive output of the season.
After snagging a 36-24 advantage at intermission, UNCW kept the lead at double digits through the first 10 minutes of the final half and then put the game out of reach with a 9-0 rally. Sophomore guard Jamarii Thomas started the spurt with an acrobatic layup and a three-pointer by reserve guard Nick Farrar in front of the Seahawk bench gave the home team their largest lead of the game, 61-38, with 5:29 left to play.
The Pirates, picked to finish 11th in the AAC, never chopped the deficit under double digits in the second half.
Tight defense was expected in the contest and the first 10 minutes of the game lived up to the billing. The two teams combined for 11 turnovers over the first part of the period before the Seahawks settled down and grabbed their 12-point advantage at the break.
After Small tossed in three free throws with just under five minutes left, the Seahawks used a 9-1 spurt to gain some breathing room. White sank four free throws in the run and when he sank the second of two charity tosses with 1:13 remaining, the Seahawk lead had ballooned to 32-22.
White finished the first half with a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Source: Joe Browning, UNCW Senior Associate A.D.