Seahawks right ship, down Tribe

Cacok: “We want to go 4-0 in this homestand to set us up in the [CAA].”


Noah Powers/The Seahawk

Kai Toews (10) drives up the court during UNCW’s Thursday night matchup with William & Mary on Jan. 24, 2019.

Brandon Sans, Sports Editor

UNC Wilmington men’s basketball opened a four-game homestand over the next two weeks with a 93-88 victory against William & Mary on Thursday night inside Trask Coliseum.

The Seahawks (8-13, 4-4 CAA) led the Tribe (7-13, 3-5 CAA) for all but 5:04 minutes in the game and rid themselves of the two second-half collapses against Hofstra and Northeastern last week.

Second half fuel

The Seahawks jumped out to an 11-point halftime lead that grew to a 17-point cushion over the course of the second half. They needed every bit of that lead when the Tribe cut the lead to three with five seconds to go.

Even though UNCW was outscored by six in the final 20 minutes, it kept pace with W&M throughout something it was unable to do last weekend when Northeastern outscored UNCW by 15 in the second half.

“We kept scoring. They were scoring, but we kept scoring,” said UNCW coach C.B. McGrath postgame. “I thought our shots we made were easier than the shots they made. The guys were more confident with what they were doing tonight.”

Points over Pass

Over the course of his freshman year, Kai Toews gave up open lanes to the basket and easy buckets in lieu of passing to open teammates. While his 7.6 assists per game rank third in Division I, Toews has strived to find the balance between playmaking and aggression.

A new career-high of 23 points against the Tribe show Toews may be close to achieving that balance on a consistent basis. Toews took advantage of the high pick-and-roll to get easy lanes to the basket. In other instances, he raced down the court on an inbounds pass for layups.

“Everyone knows that I pass. I knew they were going to start to not help [on defense]. In the first half, every time I drove, I realized guys were not coming to help and there was no one open,” said Toews. “I went for the layup. I’ll pick what the defense gives me.”

Even with the newfound aggression, Toews managed seven assists in the game. The cat-and-mouse game between Toews and opposing defenses will be interesting to watch as each continues to adjust to the other this season and beyond.

Cacok climbs the double-double list

Another day, another double-double for UNCW senior forward Devontae Cacok.

Cacok now has a Division I-high 15 double-doubles in 21 games. There is a chance Cacok may lead the nation in a third different statistical category for the third straight year.

The 23-point, 16-rebound effort against the Tribe moved him into a tie with Brian Rowsom with 50 career double-doubles as a Seahawk. Expect Cacok to move into sole possession of another school record as early as Saturday against Elon.

Elmore enters transfer portal

Redshirt sophomore forward Matt Elmore requested his name be placed in the transfer portal last week per McGrath. It is the second transfer of the season after sophomore guard Jeff Gary left the program prior to the season-opener against Campbell.

Elmore averaged 4.6 minutes over 11 games played this season. That included a career-high 12 minutes against Furman in which Elmore scored a career-best 12 points in the blowout loss.

Sports Editor Brandon Sans can be found on Twitter @bsans10. Any tips or suggestions should be forwarded via email to [email protected].