The Seahawk

McGrath era begins with 105-81 rout of N.C. Wesleyan

C.B.+McGrath
C.B. McGrath

C.B. McGrath

Noah Powers/The Seahawk

Noah Powers/The Seahawk

C.B. McGrath

Brandon Sans, Assistant Sports Editor

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UNC Wilmington head coach C.B. McGrath spent over two decades playing or coaching in blue blood college basketball arenas like Kansas’ Allen Fieldhouse and the Dean E. Smith Center at North Carolina, but nothing prepared him for the Trask Coliseum crowd on Saturday night.

“I’ve heard a lot about Trask. I’ve seen it since I’ve been here, but not with a lot of fans,” said McGrath. “The fans came out and supported the guys in the first game. I think we got up and down the court and the pace was good and [the fans] got to be excited about a few things. That’s what we depend on to give us a home-court advantage.

Trask played a part in the 105-81 win over North Carolina Wesleyan for the Seahawks, giving McGrath his first career victory.

Senior Jordon Talley (24 points, 5 assists) and junior Devontae Cacok (21 points, 16 rebounds) paced the Seahawks, who continued to push the ball inside in transition for many of their possessions. The Seahawks took a few quick three-pointers, old habits from the previous regime, but it was nothing continued reps in McGrath’s inside-out system won’t fix.

“We took a couple quick threes on pitch-aheads, which I don’t necessarily like,” said McGrath. “I’d rather us attack and try to get all the way to the basket.”

A welcoming surprise for the Seahawks was Cacok making 7-of-11 free throws on Saturday. Cacok, a career 55 percent shooter from the line, needed to improve in that area.

He did exactly that on Saturday.

“It was a struggle for me to make free throws during my freshman and sophomore year,” said Cacok. “I’ve worked on it’s a good way to put points on the board.”

And to those teams that try to foul him: “I’m going to make my free throws.”

Improvement at the charity stripe wasn’t the only highlight of the night for Cacok. He didn’t know until afterward that he had broken Keith Rendleman’s career dunk record of 92, finishing the game with 96 dunks across his three years so far.

When informed, he smiled as Talley extended his hand in congratulations, but Cacok missed his teammate’s gesture and Talley was left to high-five himself.

When Talley offered again, the teammates connected and both smiled, much like they do with alley-oops on the court. It was their way of closing the revolving door that was the 2017 offseason, reminding everyone that family is as important to the Seahawks under McGrath as winning.

Assistant Sports Editor Brandon Sans can be found on Twitter @bsans10. Any tips or suggestions should be forwarded via email to uncwseahawksports@gmail.com. For video updates from The Seahawk, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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McGrath era begins with 105-81 rout of N.C. Wesleyan