Hawks trounce Trojans

Mike+Okauru+%284%29+during+UNCW%27s+matchup+with+Elon+on+Feb.+6%2C+2020+at+Trask+Coliseum.

Noah Powers/The Seahawk

Mike Okauru (4) during UNCW’s matchup with Elon on Feb. 6, 2020 at Trask Coliseum.

Zachary Kilby, Sports Editor

ASHEVILLE, North Carolina – Less than 24 hours after notching his first win as the head coach for UNCW basketball, Takayo Siddle and the Seahawks (2-1) took on Troy (1-1) for the first time since 2008. Siddle and the Hawks easily defeated Troy 73-50 which stands as UNCW’s largest margin of victory in the early stages of the 2020-21 season.

First Half: ‘Three Me’

After not being able to hit anything from behind the arc during warm-ups, UNCW caught fire from downtown, shooting 10-15 from three-point range. Ty Gadsden and Jaylen Sims led the Hawks from deep, each going 4-5 while Mike Okauru went a perfect 2-2. The long-range sniping gave the Seahawks a 42-29 lead heading into the locker room at halftime.

Sims ended the half as UNCW’s leading scorer once again with 17, followed by Gadsden with 13 as the Seahawks’ other double-digit scorer in the first 20 minutes. Speaking of 20 minutes, Sims played all of them in the first half and has now played all but three minutes through UNCW’s first three games.

The Seahawks also won the rebounding battle in the first half, besting the Trojans 16-14 on the glass. Okauru once again led UNCW in this department with five boards in the first half against a sizeable Troy team who possess five players checking in at 6-foot-7-inches or taller.

The only thing that seemed to go wrong for UNCW in the first half was the injury that sidelined Jake Boggs for all but three minutes. Boggs checked out with 17:30 left and headed toward the Seahawk bench favoring his left shoulder. UNCW’s second-leading scorer never checked back in.

UNCW Freshman Ju’Juann Carr checked into a game for the first time this season, but his time on the court was short-lived as the first-year guard checked out after one minute of action. Carr’s lack of play is a bit puzzling especially since Shykeim Phillips has not played at all this year.

Second Half: More Ice Cream

Siddle and the Seahawks will once again enjoy a sweet treat tonight after a 73-50 victory over Troy. The tradition came with Siddle to the Port City and looks like it is here to stay. UNCW will have a comfortable five-hour drive back home after back-to-back wins and starting the season 2-1.

Sims completed the hat trick, scoring 20 or more points in three straight games after dropping 29 on Saturday. The performance gives the junior his new career-high in points and surely threw his name into the discussion for CAA Player of the Week.

The story of the game was simple: Troy could not hit while UNCW could not miss. The Seahawks finished the game shooting over 50% from three-point range while the Trojans shot an awful 18%. The size advantage that Troy had over the Hawks did not play much of a factor simply because there were a minimum number of shots missed by UNCW on the offensive end.

The Hawks were in control of this game from the beginning. Troy held a lead over the Seahawks for only 2:56 throughout the game while UNCW led for nearly 33 minutes including a 28-point margin that came late in the second half.

Looking Ahead: UNCW vs East Carolina

The Seahawks will get a much-needed week’s worth of rest after playing three games in four days. UNCW will head to Greenville, N.C. on Dec.7 to face off against the Pirates (1-0) at 7 p.m. before hosting their first home game of the 2020-21 season against St. Andrews (1-3) on Dec. 9 at 7 p.m.