Late-game struggles continue for UNCW, suffer fourth straight loss


Noah Powers/The Seahawk

Kai Toews (10) battles through defenders during UNCW’s matchup with William & Mary on Jan. 24, 2019.

Noah Powers, Assistant Sports Editor

UNC Wilmington began its two-game road slate against a Drexel team which the Seahawks defeated 97-83 in Trask Coliseum on Jan. 12. That said, struggles on the road have plagued UNCW which wields only two wins away from the Port City — a record which remains steady after the Seahawks’ 69-57 loss to the Dragons on Thursday night.

Late-game woes

UNCW is no stranger to close losses this season. Its last three defeats have come by no more than nine points, so it was no shock when the Seahawks held on before allowing the game to slip from their grasp in the final few minutes.

With 10:08 to play, senior forward Devontae Cacok hit a jump shot to give the Seahawks their first lead since the 18:40 mark. That lead would be short-lived as the Dragons would come back on an 8-0 run, forcing UNCW to claw its way back for the remainder of the game.

In the final seven minutes of play, the Dragons would outscore the Seahawks 14-7.

Missing mojo

Statistically, the Seahawks put themselves in a precarious position. Lack of offensive execution culminating in a 38.1 field goal percentage as well as a 2-of-18 effort from beyond the arc killed any momentum the ‘Hawks hoped to obtain.

Even Devontae Cacok, who has been a powerhouse on both ends of the court, would fall short of his average. The Georgia native failed to reach his usual double-double mark with 15 points and only nine rebounds — the first time Cacok has missed a double-double since Dec. 19 at Georgia State.

Cacok wasn’t the only one missing his mojo in tonight’s contest. Redshirt junior forward Jeantal Cylla and sophomore guard Jay Estime’ combined for 15 points while junior guard Jaylen Fornes only managed an eight-point effort. The biggest setback, however, came from freshman guard Kai Toews and sophomore guard Ty Gadsden who only contributed two points apiece.

All of this combined for UNCW’s second-lowest scoring total of the season (the lowest came in its 93-50 loss to Furman on Dec. 15).

Defensive struggles

First half defense was a plus as the Seahawks held Drexel to under 39 percent from the floor and only 11.1 percent from beyond the arc.

Despite the Seahawks’ efforts, that defensive magic faded fast in the back half of the contest, as UNCW allowed the Dragons to hit over 43 percent from the floor as well as 36.4 percent from deep.

Up next

UNCW plays out the back half of its road slate against Delaware on Saturday, Feb. 10. That matchup is set for a 7 p.m. tipoff.

The Seahawks fell 82-69 when they met the Blue Hens in Wilmington on Jan. 10.