German engineering: Linssen’s double-double leads Seahawks over Cougars

UNCW completed a regular season sweep of rival Charleston for the first time since 2016 on Saturday night


Zachary Kilby/The Seahawk

UNCW men’s basketball

Zachary Kilby, Assistant Sports Editor

WILMINGTON – A near half-court alley oop pass from Ty Gadsden found the hands of Imajae Dodd. The reigning Colonial Athletic Association Rookie of the Week finished the play with a thunderous slam that had Trask Coliseum going crazy.

UNC Wilmington (9-20, 4-12 CAA) got out to a quick lead over rival College of Charleston (15-13, 9-7 CAA) in the first half. UNCW ran a full-court press that gave Charleston some trouble. The Cougars coughed the ball up 11 times throughout the course of the game, which led to 16 Seahawk points on the other end of the floor.

“At the end of the day it’s a team sport,” said Marten Linssen. “We play defense as a team and we win as team…our season is not done, we still have a chance to win this conference.”

The redshirt sophomore from Düsseldorf, Germany had a double-double heading into halftime and was one of the focal points for the Seahawks on the offensive side of the ball. Linssen finished the game with 16 points and a team high 13 rebounds.

Proof to how great UNCW’s defense was tonight lies in the stat sheet. Charleston was held to a shocking low of five percent from the three-point line.

“We got lucky with them going 1-21 from the three-point line,” said head coach Rob Burke. “They are a much better shooting team than that.”

UNCW, on the other hand, shot 47 percent from the field and 39 percent from three. 17 turnovers in the game is not something to take lightly, however, but this is a young team that still has a lot of growing to do.

It is clear that Burke has implemented a defensive mindset in his team. The Seahawks looked to force turnovers and wreak havoc on defense in order to score easy transition points on the other side of the ball.

Junior guard Mike Okauru is one of the beneficiaries of this style of play. The Florida transfer had three steals in the game along with a rejection.

“We wanted to run them off of the three-point line because we know they have shooters,” said Okauru. “Coach Burke is allowing me to be free and my teammates are feeding me the ball…we just want to win.” Okauru also commented on Burke’s potential hiring as the full-time head coach for UNCW: “Y’all go sign the petition to hire Burke.”

“It was a great night here in Trask…to sweep your rival in Charleston is a big-time win,” said Burke. “I am so proud of these guys…the toughness and the ability to share the ball is special. We will keep building.”

The Seahawks will return to action Thursday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. when they host Drexel for the first of two final regular-season matchups.