MBB Preview: UNCW vs JMU

Zachary Kilby, Sports Editor

WILMINGTON, North Carolina – One must wonder how many scoops of ice cream UNCW Head Coach Takayo Siddle and his players have consumed so far this season.

Questions such as this come to mind after the Hawks notched its sixth straight win Monday night heading into the middle part of a four-game road trip.

So far, no team in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) has been able to figure out this surprising Seahawk squad. Home or away, UNCW has risen to the occasion and given its fanbase something to be happy about.

“I’m so proud of you (guys),” Siddle said to his team after Monday’s win over Charleston. “Y’all keep on answering the bell … every challenge that’s been put in front of you, you answer the bell.”

The Seahawks will need to refocus going into Thursday night’s matchup with James Madison (11-4, 2-2 CAA) inside of Atlantic Union Bank Center where the Dukes hold a 7-1 record this season.

Here is what to look for during the game:

Offense Sells Tickets, Defense Wins Games

JMU will enter Thursday’s contest as the number one ranked offensive team in the conference, averaging just a shade over 78 points per game (PPG) while shooting a league-best 48% from the field.

UNCW on the other hand comes in as the second-best defensive group, giving up just 67 PPG and forcing over 13 turnovers.

After surrendering 90 or more points in its last two contests, the Dukes will need to figure out some sort of answer for a UNCW team that likes to get up and down the floor in a hurry.

Star Watch

There are not many players in the CAA right now who are playing better than Jaylen Sims. Everyone knew coming into the season Sims would be a focal point of the Hawks’ offense and a big determining factor of whether or not this team would succeed.

Thus far, Sims has not only met expectations but exceeded them.

The senior forward is coming off his best game of the season and Player of the Night honors from CAA fans after scoring a season-high 24 points.

Sims will look to outshine his opponents and will need another big offensive performance to overcome an efficient offensive bunch in JMU.

More Ice Cream?

Another win away from Trask means more ‘road scoops’ for Siddle and the Hawks and would mark the fourth tasty trip this season, giving the team a winning percentage above .500 on the road for the first time since 2016-17.

Not only would this speak to UNCW’s hard work and performance on the court this season, but also their dedication and discipline to stay healthy off the court.

After already having six games impacted by team health, it seems the Seahawks have prioritized the team’s health and it is certainly paying off.

Viewing Options

UNCW and James Madison will tip-off at 7 p.m. Streaming options are available on NBC Sports Washington and FloSports.com. Also, follow @uncwmenshoops on Twitter for highlights and live score updates.