Sims hits buzzer-beater for seventh consecutive win


Jaylen Sims’ game-winning shot against JMU on Jan. 20, 2022 (Cathy Kushner/JMU Athletics)

Zachary Kilby, Sports Editor

HARRISONBURG, Virginia – Jaylen Sims came into Thursday’s showdown with James Madison leading his team in scoring, averaging over 20 points in his last three games.

So, if you’re Head Coach Takayo Siddle and the Seahawks, who do you go to with the game on the line?

Correct answer: Jaylen Sims.

With 2.1 seconds remaining, the Hawks found themselves trailing, 70-68, with a chance to erase a 13-point deficit and head into overtime.

But, Siddle had a different idea.

“Let’s go for the win,” he said in the huddle after JMU called its final timeout. And that’s exactly what they did.

Looking at the play Assistant Coach Travis Hackert drew up, Siddle seemed confident it would work. It had to, right?

After coming off a solid screen set by teammate James Baker Jr., Sims took one dribble and hoisted up a three-point shot that would decide his team’s fate. Would it be seven in a row for the Hawks, or would this be the end of a remarkable streak?

Sims rested on his back as he watched this question get answered. A few moments later, he was swarmed by the entire UNCW team at midcourt.

UNCW 71, JMU 70.

“I believe in that kid (Sims),” Siddle said postgame. “His mental toughness is growing, and you have to be mentally tough to step up and hit a shot like that… it (the shot) was beautiful.”

Coming into Harrisonburg, VA, ESPN’s Basketball Power Index gave the Hawks less than a 10% chance of winning. It didn’t seem to matter UNCW (10-5, 4-0 Colonial Athletic Association) carried its longest winning streak in five years. The experts underestimated a team ranked first in the conference – four spots higher than its opponent.

Well, let’s get one thing straight. This is a Seahawk squad that has been written off and misjudged numerous times so far this season, and the only thing they keep doing?

Proving everyone wrong.

UNCW’s next opponent will come in the form of second-placed Towson (13-5, 4-1) on Jan. 22 at 2 p.m. Streaming options are available on Tune into 95.9 FM The Breeze and follow @uncwmenshoops on Twitter for highlights and live score updates.