DAVIDSON, North Carolina – Senior forward Peyton Aldridge exploded for a career-high 37 points and Davidson shot 65.6 percent in the second half of a 108-81 victory over UNCW road opener for the Seahawks on Tuesday at John M. Belk Arena.
The Seahawks (1-1) return to Trask Coliseum on Saturday to entertain state rival Campbell in the longest series on record for the Seahawks. The Wildcats improved to 2-0 heading into their road debut next Tuesday at Nevada.
"They ran their stuff," said C.B. McGrath, UNCW's first-year head coach. "Aldridge had a great first half and really got them going. He made three 3s in the last five minutes of the first half where he just stepped out in his rhythm and knocked them down.
"Our guys never quit. We would make runs and they would make runs. We needed to get more stops defensively than we did."
Junior forward Devontae Cacok anchored four players in double figures for the Seahawks with his second double-double of the season and the 15th of his career. He closed with 22 points and 17 rebounds and added a pair of assists in 34 minutes.
Redshirt sophomore guard Ty Taylor added 16 points in his second game with the Seahawks, senior guard Jordon Talley collected a double of 13 points and 12 assists and sophomore guard Jaylen Fornes finished with 11 points.
Aldridge, who erupted for 26 points in the opening period, went 15-of-24 from the field en route to his 37-point barrage and added five rebounds on a career night. Freshman Kellan Grady contributed 24 points and sophomore Jon Axel Gumundsson collected 19 points and five assists.
Aldridge's 37 points tied for the most points scored by an individual against the Seahawks. He matched the effort of James Madison's Abdulai Jalloh on Feb. 9, 2008. Aldridge's halftime total of 26 points did eclipse the 23-point total of Akron's Joe Jakobick (1984) and East Carolina's Blue Edwards (1989).
In McGrath's first road game as UNCW's head coach, the Seahawks kept pace with the Wildcats early on before Aldridge caught fire and propelled the hosts to an 18-point bulge at the break. Davidson then shot a sizzling 65.6 percent in the second period to build a comfortable lead.
After Talley's triple along the left wing lifted UNCW to a 13-11 edge with 14 minutes remaining in the first half, Grady answered with a bucket in the paint to spark a mini-run of six points. Aldridge and Grady combined for Davidson's first 26 points as the Wildcats had the pace to their liking.
A pair of free throws by Grady at 7:31 hiked the margin to 31-18, but UNCW strung together five points, capped by a free throw by Jaylen Fornes, to slice the lead to 31-23.
But Aldridge stayed hot and the talented forward closed out the stanza with a trifecta with five seconds on the clock. The Leavittsburg, Oho, product made 10 of his 16 field goal attempts in the opening half.
The Wildcats recorded their largest lead of the night with 7:23 left in the game when Gumundsson converted a conventional three-point play as the margin ballooned to 95-61.
Davidson, which sank 26-of-53 three-pointers in its season opener, was held to 13-of-33 for 39.4 percent by the Seahawks. UNCW went 9-of-18 from deep, topped by Talley's 3-of-5 aim.
GAME NOTES: Aldridge's was named preseason All-Conference in the A-10…UNCW had 15 assists on 29 baskets…Jordon Talley had 12 of UNCW's 15 dimes…Devontae Cacok pulled down eight offensive rebounds…Only one player had three fouls for the Seahawks…UNCW shot 57.6 percent in second half and drained 6-of-10 behind the arc…Davidson only committed five turnovers….Devontae Cacok had three dunks to push his school-record total to 98 over three seasons…UNCW shot 58.3 percent at the charity stripe on 14-of-24 free throws…There were three ties and eight lead changes in the contest…Attendance: 3,252.