WILMINGTON, N.C. (UNCW release) - UNCW scored the first 11 points in each half and rode a balanced attack to an 87-63 trouncing of visiting Delaware State in the non-conference finale for the Seahawks early Wednesday at Trask Coliseum.
The Seahawks secured their league-leading sixth non-conference victory and hiked their record to 6-3. It was the team’s third straight victory and its fourth win in the last five games. The Hornets plummeted to 0-4.
Vying at noon and on their home floor for only the second time in nine games, the Seahawks dominated from the start, bolting out to a 43-31 halftime lead and never trailing by less than 15 points in the final period.
“I don’t think anyone would say we would be 6-3 after nine games,” said Siddle. “We’ve had some bumps in the road, but we’ve come in every day and worked.
“I challenged them to pick our energy level up in the second half. I challenged them not to be satisfied with winning the game, but to get better during the game.”
Senior guard Ty Gadsden scored 16 of his game-high 21 points in the second half to anchor UNCW’s offense. Junior guard Jaylen Sims collected 15 points, sophomore guard Joe Pridgen scored 14 and sophomore guard Jake Boggs finished with 11. Pridgen, a transfer from Holy Cross, also grabbed 10 rebounds for his third consecutive double-double and the fourth in six games with the team.
Reserve Zach Kent paced three Hornets in double figures with 15 points. Senior playmaker Pinky Wiley and sophomore guard Omair Peek-Green chipped in 10 points apiece for DSU, which shot 36.5 percent from the floor.
The speedy Gadsden was the catalyst in both halves for the Seahawks. He opened the contest with a three-pointer just 17 seconds into the final period as the Seahawks raced out to an 11-0 lead. He then scored the first 11 points of the second half to erase any doubt in the outcome.
The Seahawks led by as many as 15 points in the first half, holding the Hornets to a sub-par 28 percent shooting on just 9-of-32 field goals. A bucket by Sims at the 11:56 mark staked UNCW to a 25-10 cushion and the largest lead of the period.
The Seahawks poured it on after intermission, leading by as many as 28 points down the stretch. Reserve forward John Bowen slipped behind the defense for a tip-in with 12:22 remaining and the margin swelled to 65-37.
The Seahawks outrebounded their opponents for the third straight game, building a 43-31 advantage on the glass. UNCW also recorded a season-high eight blocked shots, topped by sophomore forward Imajae Dodd’s four rejections.
Gadsden, the CAA’s third-ranked free throw shooter, dropped in all eight of his free throw attempts and has now made 37-of-40 on the season for an impressive 92.5 percent at the charity stripe.