Seahawks blowout Knights in home opener


Zachary Kilby

Brian Tolefree during UNCW’s matchup vs St. Andrews on Dec. 9, 2020.

Zachary Kilby, Sports Editor

WILMINGTON – UNCW (3-2) completed their season opener on Wednesday night with a 50-point blowout victory over St. Andrews (1-3). The 116-66 triumph gives Takayo Siddle his first win inside of Trask Coliseum as the head coach for the Seahawks and is the largest margin of victory for UNCW since last year when they defeated N.C. Wesleyan 113-53.

First Half: Turnovers

St. Andrews turned the ball over 15 times in the first half, resulting in 24 of UNCW’s 62 first half points. The inability to take care of the rock forced the Knights into a tough position from the jump as UNCW seemed to impose their will on both sides of the court.

Ty Gadsden returned after missing last game due to concussion protocol and took over scoring duties in the first half, leading the Seahawks with 13. The senior was followed by Jake Boggs and Imajae Dodd with 10 as the Hawks’ other two double-digit scorers which helped give UNCW a commanding 62-32 lead at the half.

St. John’s transfer Ian Steere made his Seahawk debut halfway through the first period. The 6-foot-9-inch junior chipped in five points in his first seven minutes of play. “I wanted to give guys like Ian a chance to play and see if he can help us moving forward,” said Siddle after the game.

Jaylen Sims did not suit up for the first time this season, as the CAA’s leading scorer got a bit of rest after averaging 40 minutes of action through four games. If there were ever a time to let Sims rest, this was the game. St. Andrews posed no realistic threat to the Seahawks and having a fresh and healthy Sims moving forward will bode well for UNCW.

Second Half: More of the Same

Nothing changed for either team in the second half other than the margin of UNCW’s lead. St. Andrews ended up turning the ball over a total of 25 times which resulted in a solo dunk contest for Boggs on the other end.

Boggs ended the night hot, dropping a career-high 25 points on 9-12 shooting and lead the Hawks in the scoring column. It’s good to see the sophomore back in action after a lingering shoulder injury seemed to limit his playing time the last two outings.

UNCW as a whole shot over 60 percent from the floor, which was foreseen against a much smaller St. Andrews squad. Dodd controlled the paint going a perfect 6-6 on the night en route to 13 points, while Gadsden lit it up from outside with 22 of his own including four long range bombs.

All 10 guys available for the Seahawks played 14 minutes or more in Wednesday’s contest. “I’m looking to shorten my rotation moving forward,” said Siddle postgame. Look for Siddle and the Hawks to have a seven-to-eight-man rotation as the season progresses.

Looking Ahead: UNCW vs Ole Miss

The Hawks will face their toughest opponent so far this season when they head to Oxford, Mississippi on Saturday, Dec. 12 to take on the Rebels. Ole Miss has yet to play a game this season after having their first four games canceled or postposed due to COVID-19 protocols.