Seahawks down Fighting Camels in overtime thriller


Kai Toews calls out to his team during UNCW’s matchup with Campbell on Nov. 12, 2019 at Trask Coliseum.

Noah Powers, Sports Editor

WILMINGTON — In the 105th meeting between UNC Wilmington and Campbell, the Seahawks came out on top 81-76 in overtime, jumping to 2-1 on the season for the first time since 2017. This was also UNCW’s Military Appreciation game.

UNCW and Campbell have met annually since 2009. In that span, the Seahawks are 7-4. This is also the third year in a row that the matchup between UNCW and the Fighting Camels was decided by five or fewer points.

Both teams started out strong, essentially trading baskets. Campbell (2-1) got out to a 22-14 lead before momentum switched in favor of the Seahawks. UNCW rode a 17-6 run into halftime as well as a 31-28 lead.

The second half was much of the same, with both teams keeping within reach. A missed free throw from Campbell guard Cory Gensler with less than two seconds left kept the score tied at 62 to send it into overtime.

That free throw made the difference as the Seahawks eventually took a 79-76 lead. As time expired, Jaylen Sims was fouled. 0.3 seconds were added to the clock before Sims sealed the victory converting both free throws.

Sims led the way for UNCW dropping 15 points and grabbing six boards. He was followed closely by Kai Toews who had 15 points of his own.

This game was a big déjà vu moment for both teams. Last year, the Seahawks were downed by Campbell 97-93 in overtime in Buies Creek to open the season. According to Toews, it felt good for the team to get this monkey off their back and return the favor.

“It felt amazing. I wish we could’ve gotten it a little more clean,” said Toews. “We grinded it out. It was rough, all the replays all the calls, it felt longer than it should’ve been. But, at the end of the day we’ve got a bunch of guys that really want to win and that’s the only thing we’re focused on.”

It was games like these that plagued the Seahawks the past two seasons. However, this matchup could potentially act as an indicator that the team is ready to win close games down the stretch.

“It feels good to win close games, obviously,” said UNCW coach C.B. McGrath. “I think anytime you win, you can learn some things — good and bad.”

This matchup wrapped up a three-game homestand to open the season for UNCW. The Seahawks will look to continue their momentum heading into Saturday’s matchup at Davidson. The Wildcats are 0-2 to open the season after losses to Auburn (76-66) and Charlotte (71-58). That matchup is set for Nov. 16 with a 7 p.m. tipoff.