Buies Creek, NC – The streak lives on.
Using a familiar formula of tight defense and timely shooting, the UNCW men’s basketball team ran its winning streak to nine games by trimming longtime rival Campbell, 74-66, in the 108th meeting between the two schools early Wednesday at Gore Arena.
The Seahawks pushed their record to 10-3 by wrapping up the non-conference portion of their schedule on a winning note. Head Coach Takayo Siddle’s club now breaks for the Christmas holiday before resuming play in their Colonial Athletic Association debut on Wednesday, Dec. 28, at league newcomer Monmouth.
The Camels, who lost for the fourth time in five outings, dipped to 5-7 on the new season. It was UNCW’s fourth consecutive victory over Campbell.
The outcome hung in the balance when the Seahawks, behind senior guard Maleeck Harden-Hayes, reeled off 10 unanswered points in a 1:44 stretch late in the contest to break away from the pesky Camels. Harden-Hayes led all scorers with a career high 22 points on 8-for-9 from the floor and 2-for-2 at the free throw line.
The career effort by Harden-Hayes gave the Seahawks four players in double digits. Sophomore guard Trazarien White added 15 points, senior guard Shykeim Phillips collected 14 points and junior guard Donovan Newby finished with 11.
Freshman guard Anthony Dell’Orso paced the Camels with 20 points behind 5-for-6 from deep. Senior forward Jay Paul contributed 13 points – 11 in the second half – and senior guard Ricky Clemons, CU’s leading scorer, closed with 11.
“We couldn’t get anything going,” said Siddle. “They play a different style of defense and it affected our offense. I just didn’t think we brought enough energy. Give credit to them. They came out, fought hard and put us in a tough situation.
“We did some good things late in the game, but we have to make sure that doesn’t happen again. We still have a long way to go. I told the guys in the lockerroom that you can’t be a champion until you face adversity and get through it. We faced a lot of adversity today and were able to get the job done.”
Campbell trailed out of the gate before picking up steam and led by six points with seven minutes on the clock when Harden-Hayes and White came alive.
A pair of free throws by Dell’Orso with 6:51 on the clock put the Camels on top, 60-54, and the Camels had their sights set on the upset.
But the slick-shooting Harden-Hayes knocked down the second of back-to-back three-point bombs and White tossed in a layup to close the gap to two points, 61-59, at the five-minute mark.
Campbell still led, 63-59, after a massive dunk by Pal, however the Seahawks exploded for 10 straight points over the next 1:44 to pull away. Harden-Hayes and Phillips each cashed in on bonus opportunities in the final 25 seconds to nail down the road win.
“Maleeck was huge today,” said Siddle. “He was stepping in and knocking it down. He delivered when we needed him to.”
Both teams shot well on the day. The Seahawks wound up hitting 58.3 percent on 28-for-48 from the field, including 68 percent in the decisive second period. The Camels, who shot 60 percent in the opening frame, finished at 52 percent on 26-for-50.
Source: Joe Browning, UNCW Senior Associate A.D.