Seahawks shock rival Cougars in Charleston

UNCW held on late to capture its second win in a row, snapping its four-game losing streak with Charleston


Noah Powers/The Seahawk

Shykeim Phillips during UNCW’s matchup with College of Charleston on Jan. 25, 2020 at TD Arena

Noah Powers, Sports Editor

Charleston, S.C. — In its first road test since the firing of head coach C.B. McGrath on Jan. 13, UNC Wilmington (7-15, 2-7 CAA) knocked off rival College of Charleston (12-9, 6-3 CAA) 72-70 on Saturday at TD Arena.

It was the second win in a row for the Seahawks who did not win a game from late November to mid-January. A lot of the difference has come from interim head coach Rob Burke.

Burke, if nothing else, has preached one thing since taking over as coach — intensity. Saturday served as a friendly, or not-so-friendly if you are a Cougar, reminder that the Seahawks’ newfound, amped-up style of play translates in and out of Trask Coliseum. Another key aspect was the fact that the Seahawks had an entire week to rest and prepare for the Cougars.

When Burke was named coach, he had two days to prepare his guys for action. However, after a victory against Northeastern last Saturday, the Seahawks were given an entire week to adjust to Burke’s style of coaching.

“It (this week) was our camp, we called it our camp,” said Burke on having an entire week to prepare. “We had to get back in there.”

The Seahawks were tested against not only a rival, but one of the top two teams in the Colonial Athletic Association — a game that the Seahawks of a few weeks ago would have likely lost in a blowout. However, UNCW held its ground — something the Seahawks have done in every game since Burke was named coach — and came out on top. UNCW shattered a four-game losing streak against Charleston that dated back to 2017.

It was a standout performance from freshman Shykeim Phillips that kept the Seahawks in contention. Phillips posted 17 points along with six rebounds.

“It was our first road trip under Coach Burke,” said Phillips. “I’m just very proud of my team, coach and the coaching staff. We got at it in practice. I just give thanks to all the coaches and our teammates and we came out with the dub.”

Ty Gadsden also produced a strong effort, racking up 16 points and four assists. Phillips and Gadsden were followed closely by Jaylen Sims with 13 points, six boards and three assists.

The Seahawks are now 2-1 under Burke whose energy has revived a program that was on the verge of collapse.

UNCW remains on the road with matchups at Towson and James Madison next Thursday and Saturday respectively. These games will act as a true road test for the Seahawks as we see how they react to having a normal two-game stretch away from the Port City.

Those games are at 7 p.m. and 4 p.m. respectively and will be streamed on FloHoops.