Simsless Hawks fall to Hofstra

Zachary Kilby, Sports Editor

WILMINGTON, North Carolina – Three days after losing its leading scorer in Jaylen Sims, UNC Wilmington (7-7, 1-4 Colonial Athletic Association) dropped its second consecutive game after an 82-73 lost to Hofstra (10-6, 6-3 CAA) Saturday afternoon inside of Trask Coliseum.

“As a team, we understand that we’re undermanned and that we lost one of our better players and guys are going to have to step up,” said Head Coach Takayo Siddle. “Guys understand the sense of urgency and the workload that they’re going to have to take on.”

Hopefully the workload for the Seahawks will be more evenly distributed soon as Shykeim Phillips participated in pre-game warm-ups and dressed out for Saturday’s game. The sophomore has been recovering from an injury that he sustained in the offseason and has yet to touch the court this season.

“I’ve never dealt with anything like this…it’s difficult,” said Siddle. “You can’t have productive practices really…you have eight guys that you have to work with, sometimes seven. So, you have to figure out a way to navigate through it.”

John Bowen had a career high 12 points off the bench and gave the Seahawks a much needed inside presence against a bigger and stronger Hofstra team.

“It’s a bright spot having someone come off the bench and provide some production for us,” said Siddle. “As a team, we need that more than anything…we have just got to keep getting contributions from everybody.”

Siddle and the Hawks had no answer for Hofstra’s Isaac Kante who was having his way down low. Kante finished the game with a team high 18 points and shot 8-11 from the field. The junior picked up right where left off last year, after scoring 12 and 23 points in his two games against the Hawks.

Mike Okauru led all scorers with 21 points after coming into Saturday’s contest ranked as the CAA’s 16th leading scorer. The senior played all 40 minutes for the second time this season and has scored 20 or more points in three of his last five games.

As a team, UNCW shot over 47% from the field, which is considerably better than its 37% average on the year thus far. Siddle’s team however only shot seven free-throws against Hofstra after averaging close to 20 attempts from the charity stripe through its first 13 games.

UNCW will try to get back in the win column on Sunday when they host game two against Hofstra. Tipoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.