UNCW downed by Drexel in CAA tournament

Marten+Linssen+attempts+to+go+up+for+a+shot+during+UNCW%27s+matchup+with+N.C.+Wesleyan+on+Nov.+19%2C+2019.

Zachary Kilby/The Seahawk

Marten Linssen attempts to go up for a shot during UNCW's matchup with N.C. Wesleyan on Nov. 19, 2019.

Noah Powers, Sports Editor

WASHINGTON D.C. — UNC Wilmington’s hopes of running the table were cut short on Saturday night following a 66-55 loss to Drexel (14-19, 6-12 Colonial Athletic Association) on Saturday evening in the first round of the 2020 CAA tournament.

The Seahawks (10-22, 5-13 CAA) had high hopes heading into postseason play, winning two of their last three games. Interim head coach Rob Burke finished the season 5-8 at the helm after taking the spot following the firing of C.B. McGrath back in January.

The first half was a shootout, with the Dragons taking the largest lead of the half at four points. Facing a 27-23 deficit with 4:25 to play before the intermission, the Seahawks battled back closing the gap to a point (32-31) at halftime.

UNCW never regained the lead, fighting uphill for the entire second half before falling to close the season.

Redshirt sophomore Marten Linssen led things for the Seahawks, nearly closing in on a double-double with 18 points and nine rebounds. He was closely followed by Ty Gadsden with 13 points and Shykeim Phillips with eight points and four assists.

“At the end of the day, those 11 guys we have in the locker room are real Seahawks and I’m so proud of them,” interim head coach Rob Burke told UNCW athletics postgame. “We were evenly matched across the board statistically, but they had a couple guys come up big for them. The competition, energy and enthusiasm was high. It just came down to three-point shooting.”

Statistically, the two teams were evenly matched in a lot of ways. Each squad had nine points off turnovers, the Seahawks had 32 points in the paint to the Dragons’ 26 and both teams had six second-chance points.

UNCW also shot a collective 39 percent from the floor, while managing to shoot a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line.

Where the Seahawks faltered however was the three-point efficiency-to-defense ratio. The Dragons were able to drain 27 threes to UNCW’s nine, which ultimately led to the loss.

Coming up in the offseason, the UNCW program is set to name its permanent head coach. While Burke, a fan favorite, has shown his potential as the leader of the Seahawk club, the search for a head coach continues. “#HireBurke” has been a popular phrase in the Port City over the last month, however, there has been speculation of several other coaches that could potentially take the position.