The halftime talk that helped put UNCW one step closer to history


Jaylen Sims during UNCW’s matchup with Northeastern on Jan. 27, 2022 inside Trask Coliseum (Zachary Kilby)

Zachary Kilby, Sports Editor

WILMINGTON, North Carolina – UNCW (13-5, 7-0 Colonial Athletic Association) found themselves in an unfamiliar position for a large part of Thursday’s contest against Northeastern (6-14, 0-9 CAA).

They were in the lead.

In fact, the Hawks led the Huskies for all but 42 seconds – ranking as one of the team’s most impressive wire-to-wire performances this season.

However, after the Seahawks gave up numerous offensive rebounds on their last defensive possession to close out the opening period, Head Coach Takayo Siddle knew now was not the time to let off the gas.

“I got on them at halftime,” Siddle said. “I told them they’re the top dog right now and people are gunning for them, so they have to have a sense of urgency with everything they’re doing.”

Not only did Siddle’s message resonate with his players, but it had an immediate impact on their performance.

The Hawks came out firing in the second half; quickly scoring 14 points during the first four minutes, helping spark a run that would result in the team’s biggest lead of the game.

Siddle and his crew wouldn’t look back from there. UNCW went on to shoot over 50% from the field in the final 20 minutes and secure its 10th consecutive win – one shy of tying the program’s longest winning streak that came back in 2015-16.

The Seahawks were once again led by Jaylen Sims and his team-high 20 points; 13 of which came in the second half. Shykeim Phillips added 17 points of his own, while Jaylen Fornes contributed 14 points off the bench.

“This is a special thing that is going on right now,” Siddle said. “It’s all because of (the players) … those guys truly love each other, and they care about winning. It’s all about them.”

The Seahawks will return to action on Jan. 29 with a home game against Hofstra (13-7, 5-2 CAA). Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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