Seahawks struggle in 20-point loss to Ole Miss


Zachary Kilby

Jaylen Sims before UNCW’s matchup with St. Andrews on Dec. 9, 2020

Zachary Kilby, Sports Editor

OXFORD, Mississippi – Romello White scored a game high 20 points and led Ole Miss (2-0) past UNC Wilmington (3-3), 78-58, inside The Pavillion on Saturday afternoon in the first matchup between the two programs.

First Half: Rebounding Rebels

Ole Miss came out of the gate aggressive and outrebounded UNCW 25-12 in the opening half and gave the Rebels a 38-18 advantage at the break. The Rebels scored eight second chance points thanks to 10 offensive rebounds. Sophomore Luis Rodriguez led Mississippi on the glass with five boards, followed by Jarkel Joiner and White who each had four.

The Seahawks shot a dreadful 30.4% from the field and went 2-8 from three. Ty Gadsden led the Hawks in the scoring column with seven points. The senior was one of only four Seahawks to score in the opening half against an Ole Miss team that showcased tremendous defense from the tip. UNCW coughed the ball up a total of 11 times which accounted for 14 Ole Miss points

UNCW’s Jaylen Sims came into Saturday’s matchup ranked fourth in the CAA in scoring, averaging 27 points per contest. After taking the night off against St. Andrews on Wed., the sophomore was held scoreless in the first half for the first time this season. Sims shot 0-4 from the field and couldn’t connect on three tries from behind the arc.

Second Half: Too Little, Too Late

The Seahawks tried to claw their way back from a 20-point deficit by shooting 50 percent from the field and 53.8% from deep, but the Rebels were just too much and matched the Hawks’ 40-point second half to cement their 20-point victory.

“I thought their size on the interior was effective,” said Takayo Siddle. “They had 42 rebounds and we had 24 and I thought that was the difference in the game.”

Gadsden poured in 16 and ended the afternoon as UNCW’s leading scorer. Mike Okauru had a good all-around performance dropping 15 points, seven rebounds, four assist, and four steals. The senior also shot a perfect 3-3 from downtown.

Sims’ first points did not come until the 14:57 mark in the second half when the junior made two free-throws. The Charlotte native finished the game with 13 points but struggled from the field after shooting just 27 percent.

Looking Ahead: UNCW vs Norfolk State

UNCW will take the week off before heading to Norfolk, VA to take on Norfolk State (0-0) Friday, Dec. 18 at 4 p.m. The matchup will be one of the Hawks’ three final games before starting conference play Jan. 2 against Drexel (3-2).