A tale of two halves: Seahawks lose big at home against 49ers

Zachary Kilby, Contributing Writer

WILMINGTON – After a disappointing trip out west, UNC Wilmington’s (5-6) return home was nothing to smile about as it lost to UNC Charlotte (4-4) in convincing fashion, 76-57.
The loss marks only the second time this season that the Seahawks have been defeated at home.
“We are thankful to get our first road victory against a very good UNCW team,” said UNC Charlotte head coach Ron Sanchez. “Getting a win on the road feels like getting a birdie instead of a par.”
Saturday afternoon marked the first time the two teams have met since 1995, a game where UNCW lost to Charlotte 92-79.
During the first half of Saturday’s matchup, UNCW never led and trailed for 19 out of the 20 minutes. At one point, the Niners went on a 27-2 run, forced the Seahawks to commit four turnovers and held UNCW to 0-12 from the field.
“We waited too long to respond,” said head coach C.B. McGrath. “Defensively they took it right at us and we were not playing as physical as we needed to.”
UNCW ended the first half trailing 39-18 after a deep three from Mike Okaru at the buzzer, which seemed to be the only positive thing to happen for the Seahawks in the first half of play.
The Seahawks came out of halftime with a vengeance and opened the second half on an 8-0 run while going 4-4 from the field, yet they could never cut the lead to single digits. Marten Linssen was the main source of offense for the Seahawks as he led the team with 17 points.
“We just weren’t ready at the start of the game,” said Linssen. “We are still a really young team, but we need to learn faster because right now we are losing games that we need to win.”
UNC Charlotte ended the game shooting 57 percent from the field and 46 percent from deep. Compare that to the Seahawks’ lackluster 38 percent field goal percentage and you can see why UNCW had difficulties keeping up with its opponent.
“You can’t control whether the ball goes in or out, but you can control your energy and we did not do that,” said McGrath. “They were really aggressive and strong with the ball which is why they finished plays and we didn’t.”
One positive takeaway from this game was the return of Ty Gadsden. The junior guard finished with 11 points and brought a much-needed defensive mentality when he stepped on the court.
“I was more nervous than anything, but once I got in the game, I was fine,” said Gadsden. “We picked our intensity up in the second half, but we put ourselves in a hole and we cannot do that going forward.”
UNC Wilmington will need to make the necessary adjustments quickly if they want to turn their season around. With only two games left before the start of conference play, the Seahawks will look to bounce back in a big way when they face off against Mercer at home on Monday, Dec. 16 at 7 p.m.