WILMINGTON, NC (UNCW News Release) - WILMINGTON, North Carolina – Senior playmaker Jordon Talley poured in a career high 24 points and junior forward Devontae Cacok recorded his first double-double of the season as UNCW thumped NCAA Division II N.C. Wesleyan, 105-81, to give new Seahawk skipper C.B. McGrath a victory in his head coaching debut Saturday night at Trask Coliseum.
The Seahawks opened the season at home for the third straight year and never trailed the Battling Bishops, shooting 50 percent from the floor and outrebounding the visitors, 51-41.
UNCW hits the road for the first time on Tuesday when McGrath's club visits Davidson for a 7 p.m. tip-off at Belk Arena near Charlotte. Saturday's game was considered an exhibition for N.C. Wesleyan, which also plays UNC Greensboro in a tune-up on Wednesday before next Friday's season opener in Roanoke, Va.
Talley, a seasoned backcourt player from Richmond, Va., scored on a variety of jumpers and converted 8-of-9 shots from the field, including 3-of-4 from deep, to best his previous high of 21 points. He led all scorers in the contest.
Cacok, a First-Team All-CAA preseason pick, had a double-double by halftime and finished with 21 points and 16 rebounds. The Riverdale, Ga., product also had five slams, pushing his career total to 96 over three seasons, a new school record.
Sophomore guard Jaylen Fornes added 11 points, five rebounds and four assists to give the Seahawks three players in double figures.
Senior guard Adrian Moore anchored four Battling Bishops in double digits with 14 points. Sophomore center A.J. Frye and freshman guard Damon McDowell chipped in 12 each and junior guard Chris Braswell scored 11.
"It was our first game and we got the jitters out," said McGrath, who took over the helm of the successful program on April 3. "I was pleased with the pace of the game and how we came out attacking. We learned a lot of things. We tried to use some different lineups and tried to get some stops defensively.
"N.C. Wesleyan did a nice job of running their stuff. I told them in the lockerroom that it's a long season – a marathon – and we have to keep getting better. We're going to continue to play good competition."
The Seahawks, two-time defending champions in the Colonial Athletic Association, improved to 9-0 lifetime against the Battling Bishops with the lopsided win. UNCW shot 59 percent in the opening 20 minutes to bolt out to a 57-40 cushion at the break and coasted down the stretch.
The Battling Bishops hung around early and trailed, 9-8, with just under 17 minutes left in the first half before the Seahawks broke away with a 13-3 run over the next 3:02. Talley had two buckets in the spurt and Cacok's first jam of the night helped UNCW double up N.C. Wesleyan, 22-11.
With Cacok dominating play inside, the Seahawks took a 17-point advantage into intermission and never looked back. Cacok wound up with 13 points and 11 boards in the first period.
The Seahawks scored the first six points of the second half and led by as many as 29 points before the final margin. UNCW's largest lead of the contest came with 4:49 remaining when Talley drained a three-pointer on the right wing to extend the lead to 99-70.
GAME NOTES: Attendance for the season opener was 4,663…All 11 players that dressed played for the Seahawks and 10 found the scoring column…The Seahawks forced 16 turnovers…UNCW had 18 offensive rebounds…The Battling Bishops shot 40 percent on the night…N.C. Wesleyan played 16 players…The game was considered part of the Savannah Invitational…UNCW made six consecutive shots on two occasions in the first half...Including Talley, seven Seahawks registered career highs in Saturday's victory…The 105-point total tied for the 18th most points scored in school history.