Seahawks welcome No. 9 Tar Heels: preview

For the first time in history, UNC Wilmington welcomes North Carolina to Trask Coliseum.


Zachary Kilby/The Seahawk

Kai Toews displaying some hang time on his way to the rim.

Noah Powers, Sports Editor

WILMINGTON — UNC Wilmington’s highly-anticipated matchup with North Carolina is set to tip off tonight at 7 p.m.

The ninth-ranked Tar Heels travel to the Port City as the second of a three-game series between UNCW and UNC. It is also only the third time in history that the Seahawks will square off with a nationally ranked opponent in Trask (Wake Forest, 1977; Charlotte, 1992).  

Both teams are 1-0 heading into tonight’s contest after winning each of their season openers. UNCW knocked off Johnson & Wales 103-83 on Tuesday night, while UNC downed ACC foe Notre Dame 76-65 on Wednesday.  

Last season, the Seahawks made the trip to Chapel Hill, falling 97-69 in the Dean E. Smith Center. The Tar Heels also lead the all-time series with UNCW 4-0, defeating the ‘Hawks in 2003 at Myrtle Beach, as well as in 2004 and 2013, both of which were in Chapel Hill.  

As far as season openers go, the two could not be more different.  

The Tar Heels were elevated over the Fighting Irish mainly thanks to freshman Cole Anthony, who had 34 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, setting the ACC record for most points in a freshman debut. Anthony was also the first Tar Heel rookie to go for over 30 points and 10 rebounds since Tyler Hansbrough in 2006.  

Garrison Brooks also neared the double-double mark posting 10 points and nine rebounds. Aside from those two, no other Tar Heel had higher than eight points.  

The Seahawks, on the other hand, had a much more balanced performance on Tuesday.  

Every active member of the UNCW roster saw the court and everyone scored at least one point.  

Five players reached double figures in scoring, including Jaylen Sims who had a game-best 19 points, two rebounds, two assists and three steals. Freshman Jake Boggs also had a standout performance with 13 points and five rebounds.  

One thing both teams struggled with in game one was turnovers. The Seahawks had 15 on Tuesday while the Tar Heels had 18 on Wednesday. This is an issue that both teams will need to address heading into tonight’s action.  

North Carolina is also battling an issue with depth. Four players, including Brandon Robinson and Sterling Manley who saw their share of playing time last season, will be out for the Tar Heels tonight. Depth is one of the few advantages the Seahawks hold over UNC.  

Of course, that depth may not be an issue if Anthony has a night even remotely close to what we saw on Wednesday.  

Game one comparison

  UNC Wilmington v. Johnson & Wales  North Carolina v. Notre Dame 
Points  103  76 
Field Goal Percentage  49 percent (36/73)  47 percent (28/60) 
Three-point Percentage  64 percent (11/30)  50 percent (10/20) 
Rebounds  45  51 
Steals  12  2 
Assists   14  15 
Turnovers  15  18