MACON, Ga. — Senior Devontae Cacok didn't start, but had 15 points and 10 rebounds for UNCW in its 77-73 loss at Mercer on Friday.
Cacok was benched because he was whistled for a technical foul in the Seahawks' previous game, and freshman Jaylen Sims took the floor at tip-off in Cacok's place, scoring 12 points in his first collegiate start.
Jeantal Cylla led all players with 19 points and tied Cacok with a game-high 10 boards for UNCW (4-9), which lost its fifth consecutive game. Jay Estime added 12 points for the Seahawks and Kai Toews handed out a game-best 11 assists.
UNCW led 33-31 at halftime and Estime's 3-pointer with 1:06 remaining tied the score 71-71.
Luke Hamilton rattled in a 3 and after a Seahawks miss, a Hamilton free throw put Mercer (5-7) up 75-71.
Toews drove the length of the floor for a layup that made it 75-73 before Ross Cummings sealed the victory with a pair of free throws at the 6-second mark.
Cummings scored 18 points and Hamilton and Jaylen Stowe added 10 points each to pace the Bears, who shot 52.9 percent from the field and 47.8 percent from 3-point range.
It was the first meeting between the teams since 1977 and UNCW’s first-ever game in Mercer’s Hawkins Arena.