Seahawks fall behind early in loss to Spartans

Cacok: "If we drag ourselves into those holes, it's hard to claw back."

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Seahawks fall behind early in loss to Spartans

Ty Gadsden (0) gets set on defense during UNCW's Tuesday night game v.s. UNC Greensboro

Ty Gadsden (0) gets set on defense during UNCW's Tuesday night game v.s. UNC Greensboro

Noah Powers/The Seahawk

Ty Gadsden (0) gets set on defense during UNCW's Tuesday night game v.s. UNC Greensboro

Noah Powers/The Seahawk

Noah Powers/The Seahawk

Ty Gadsden (0) gets set on defense during UNCW's Tuesday night game v.s. UNC Greensboro

Brandon Sans, Sports Editor

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UNC Wilmington renewed its in-state series with UNC Greensboro with the Spartans controlling much of the game on their way to an 82-61 victory over the Seahawks on Tuesday night.

The Seahawks left Trask Coliseum still seeking its first win of the season. Before it can think about Allen on Sunday, they must correct a bevy of things like turnovers and playing from behind.

Full-court mess

The Seahawks (0-3) failed to respond to the Spartans (2-1) press defense the way it beat Campbell’s press in its season opener last week. While the Seahawks made over half their three-point shots against the Camels, it shot 32% from deep against the Spartans.

“Luckily, we played Campbell so I thought we were more prepared for it,” said coach C.B. McGrath postgame. “If we hadn’t played Campbell, our guys would’ve been a little shocked of where their press is.

It doesn’t help matters for UNCW when it turned the ball over 19 times against UNCG. Even though it decreased its total in the second half, the 19 points the Spartans scored off the Seahawk mistakes played a large part in their win.

Opponents have scored almost 28 percent of its 251 combined points on UNCW turnovers through three games.

Catching up is hard to do 

UNCW has had a chance to win in each of its three games this year. The Seahawks have either led or pulled within single digits late in the game in all its contests. It has also failed to end the first half with a lead which caused the Seahawks to spend energy playing catch-up.

“I thought we sort of gave-in in the first half when things weren’t going well,” said coach McGrath. “I thought we had enough guys out there that can really compete.”

After falling behind by 16 points in the first half the Seahawks went on a 24-13 run to open the first 10 minutes of the second half and pulled within three. It was the closest the Seahawks would come to a comeback.

“You can’t wait until the second half and think you can play one half against a good basketball team,” said McGrath. “You have to play pretty darn perfect to get back in the game.”

After trading baskets, the Spartans did not let the Seahawks score until three minutes remained and after they went on a 15-0 run over a six-minute stretch to pull away.

McGrath-ties 

UNCG coach Wes Miller was the fourth opposing coach to enter Trask this year with ties to either McGrath or the UNCW program. Miller played under McGrath in the mid-2000’s when he was an assistant at North Carolina.

“I had to find games when I got here,” said McGrath. “I called the friends that I knew.”

When McGrath was handed a blank nonconference slate after taking the UNCW job last year, he turned to former teammates, coaches and players who helped him build a strong schedule that included in-state schools like UNCG and William Peace, but Power-5 programs such as Stanford and North Carolina.

Coaching against friends such as Jerod Haase, Miller, or Roy Williams next doesn’t make those games more or less stressful for McGrath. It does remind Seahawk players that the connections and relationships they build now serve as a catalyst for the rest of their lives.