UNCW comes from behind to beat Drake, move into RCBI semifinals
Sims hits game-winner with :04 remaining
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (WECT) - The ninth-seeded UNCW Seahawks came back from a 22-point second-hand deficit to beat top-seeded Drake 76-75, moving into the semifinals of the Roman College Basketball Invitational in Daytona Beach, Florida. The Seahawks will play the #12 Northern Colorado Bears, 87-84 winners over #13 UNC Asheville in the other afternoon quarterfinal, Tuesday night in the RCBI semifinals on ESPN2.
Coach Takayo Siddle’s team trailed the Bulldogs 50-28 with 18:04 left in the second-half. Drake still had a comfortable 60-39 cushion with a little more than 12:00 to play. But the Seahawks promptly went on a 22-6 run to close within five after Jaylen Fornes hit a three-pointer with 5:52 to play. UNCW crept to within a point on two occasions, and took their only lead of the half with :04 seconds to go, when Jaylen Sims grabbed a Shykiem Phillips miss and put it back for the 76-75 lead.
A desperation jumper by Drake’s Shanquan Hemphill was off the mark, and the Seahawks had their 25th victory of the season. Drake, out of the Missouri Valley Conference, winds up 25-11.
“It was a tale of two halves,” said Siddle. “In the first half, I thought they outcompeted and outtoughed us. They imposed their will and executed their game plan better than we did. We just had to get used to their style of basketball. My message at halftime was to come out and just compete with physicality and toughness. We did that the whole second half.”
Hemphill led Drake with 15 points and seven rebounds. Phillips led the victorious Seahawks with 24 points, including 14 in the second half. Mike Okauru added 11 of his 13 in the second half as well. Sims and Fornes each had 11 for UNCW.
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