WILMINGTON, N.C. (UNCW news release) - UNCW used a 13-2 run over the final four minutes of the game to post the first Colonial Athletic Association victory of the Takayo Siddle Era, 77-70, over Delaware’s Blue Hens in a Saturday men’s basketball matinee at Trask Coliseum.
The Seahawks, who will play Delaware again at 1 p.m. on Sunday, won their third game in as many tries at home and improved to 7-5 overall and 1-2 in the CAA. The Blue Hens dropped their fourth game in the last five outings to fall to 4-7 and 2-4.
Junior forward Jaylen Sims and senior guard Mike Okauru combined to score 42 of UNCW’s 77 points. Sims came off the bench to pump in 22 points on 10-of-14 shooting and Okauru filled up the stat sheet with 20 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists. Joining the pair in double figures were senior guard Ty Gadsden with 14 points and sophomore guard Jake Boggs with 13.
Senior forward Dylan Painter registered his fourth straight double-double with game highs of 23 points and 19 rebounds. Senior guard Ryan Allen contributed 14 points, freshman forward Andrew Carr scored 11 – all in the first half - and sophomore guard Ebby Asamoah contributed 10 points.
The win snapped a six-game losing streak to the Blue Hens for the Seahawks. UNCW’s last win over Delaware came on March 4, 2017, in the quarterfinals of the CAA Tournament in Charleston.
“I thought our guys did a tremendous job of making adjustments,” said Siddle. “My main message was to play as a team and play unselfish. We had a game plan and we executed it from start to finish. Our guys came in a handled business today.
“It was a huge win. I challenged them this week. I gave them tough love and they responded.
We wanted to flush what happened at Towson out of our system and get back better from that moving forward. Just winning the next game and playing winning basketball moving forward is important.”
With UNCW trailing 68-64 with 4:11 remaining, Gadsden and Boggs nailed a pair of three-pointers to put UNCW back in front, 70-68, before Sims delivered a big basket that put the Seahawks on the path to their first CAA victory. He worked his way inside for a jumper off the glass to give the Seahawks a four-point advantage, 72-68, with 1:05 left in the game.
The CAA rivals played a close first half, with the lead never reaching double digits, before an Asamoah dunk gave the Blue Hens their largest lead, 32-25, with 4:53 left before halftime.
Sims and Okauru scored the final 19 points of the first half, including a pair of three-pointers by Sims, to flip a 33-31 Seahawk deficit into a 37-33 edge for the Seahawks at the 2:11 mark. Okauru, then beat the buzzer with running layup to take a 39-35 lead at the break.
The teams traded baskets after halftime before Okauru converted a pair of layups in a 30-second span to give the Seahawks their largest lead of the contest, 50-42, at the 15:43 mark of the second half.
Delaware chipped away at the lead before a 17-7 spurt over a seven-minute stretch got the Blue Hens back in striking distance. Painter did most of the damage with 11 points and Anderson’s three-pointer gave the Blue Hens a 68-64 edge before UNCW sealed the win.
Five free throws by Boggs and Okauru in the final 26 seconds iced the first win for Siddle and the Seahawks in CAA play.
GAMES NOTES: UNCW made 50 percent on 30-of-60 field goals…The Seahawks had a season-low five turnovers…Delaware outrebounded UNCW, 40-27….UNCW had 24 fast-break points to just three for the Blue Hens…Sophomore guard Joe Pridgen would up with 10 rebounds for his fifth double-digit rebounding game…Neither team had more than an eight-point lead…Pridgen and Okauru each played 38 minutes…The Blue Hens committed four of their 17 turnovers in the final 4:11…UNCW leads the series, 23-17, including 12-6 at Trask Coliseum.