Hawks score season-high to secure sixth straight win


Mike Okauru during UNCW’s matchup with Charleston on Jan. 17, 2022 (Bridget Connors)

Zachary Kilby, Sports Editor

CHARLESTON, South Carolina – Make it six wins in a row for UNCW men’s basketball (9-5, 3-0 Colonial Athletic Association) and suddenly this is a team that finds itself in sole possession of first place in the CAA.

The Seahawks started off a four-game road trip Monday night with an 86-78 win over Charleston (9-6, 1-2 CAA) in what was the team’s best offensive performance so far this season.

Senior Jaylen Sims led UNCW in scoring with a season-high 24 points, while junior guard Shykeim Phillips tied his career-high with 20 points and led UNCW with six rebounds.

As a team, the Hawks shot nearly 50% from the field and over 41% from three. After attempting zero free throws in the first half, the Seahawks finished 13 for 21 from the charity stripe.

Monday’s victory marks the Hawks’ longest win streak since the 2016-17 season – a year that ended with a CAA championship and NCAA tournament appearance.

Following a hot start, it is hard to think this Seahawk squad would not have its eyes set on similar goals for 2021-22.

In just his second year as head coach, Takayo Siddle has successfully implemented a fun, fast-paced style of play that has proven difficult for opponents to stop.

And his players have bought in; completely.

Siddle has taken a sub-500 squad that lost its final five contests in 2020-21 and catapulted the program into championship contention – a feat many did not expect, including CAA media members and coaches.

“I’m speechless right now,” Siddle said postgame. “I’m so proud of these guys. They just keep responding to every challenge that’s put in front of them. It’s a new group and we’re learning along the way.”

UNCW will look to continue its winning streak against James Madison (11-4, 2-2 CAA) on Jan. 20 in Harrisonburg, VA. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. Streaming options are available on FloSports.com.