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Sunday, February 5, 2023

Seahawks Win 5th Straight Game

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Conway, SC – Finding a way is the mantra of most successful programs and Wednesday night’s narrow victory over Coastal Carolina at the HTC Center was a prime example of just that for the UNCW’s men’s basketball team.

The Seahawks, coming off an extended road trip and limited prep time, fought through several challenges to claim their fifth consecutive victory, 60-58, over the Chanticleers. The win was the first true road decision of the season for the surging Seahawks, who wrapped up the month of November with a flourish and pushed their record to 6-3.

But Wednesday’s heart-stopping verdict was in doubt until the end when Coastal workhorse Essam Mostafa’s baseline jumper fell short as time expired, giving the Seahawks a gutty two-point win.

“We did a really good job in the frontcourt of sticking them up,” UNCW Head Coach Takayo Siddle recalled. “They couldn’t drive down and get it to him. It pushed him all the way off the block. He threw up a shot…thank goodness it didn’t go in.”

Mostafa’s miss overshadowed a stellar night for the Coastal big man. The 6-9, 250-pound redshirt junior finished with a double-double of 21 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore guard Josh Uduje added 16 points for the Chants, who shot 36.2 percent and stand 3-3 on the young season.

Junior guard Jahmari Harvey provided a spark off the bench for the Seahawks with 12 points – all in the second half behind four three-pointers. Sophomore guard Trazarien White chipped in 12 points and senior guard Maleeck Harden-Hayes collected 10 points. UNCW shot 53.8 percent after intermission to secure the win.

Siddle said, “Coastal deserves a lot of credit. They really packed it in early. We were trying to do too much in the first half. We talked to them about just making the simple, easy play. We settled in a little bit and started to make the simple plays. We figured it out.”

“That was ugly. I was lonely over there. I felt like nothing was going our way. We gutted it out and came away with our first road win of the year.”

The game, which featured nine lead changes and 10 ties, hung in the balance until the Seahawks erased a seven-point deficit with seven minutes remaining with a 10-1 run to get within striking distance.

Reserve guard Nick Farrar had five points in the spurt and his high-arching trey from the top of the key lifted UNCW to a 51-50 edge with 5:34 left to play.

The teams traded buckets until Seahawk senior guard Shykeim Phillips delivered the game-winner when the Preseason Second-Team All-CAA pick banged home a jumper on the left elbow with 65 seconds remaining for a 60-58 lead. Both teams then missed field goal attempts before the Chants found Mostafa on the right baseline for his errant game-tying try.

In their first appearance at the HTC Center, the Seahawks played even with the Chanticleers through the first half of the contest and settled for a 23-all draw at halftime.

The two clubs came out firing after the break. The Seahawks made their first three field goal attempts, including a pair of trifectas by Harvey, and the Chants converted three of their first four tries.

The two teams came out sloppy in the early going, combining for 14-for-50 from the field and 19 turnovers in battling to a 23-all draw after the first 20 minutes.

Neither team led by more than four points, but the Chants did piece together an eight-point run midway through the period and led, 15-11, when Uduje sank a triple on the left wing at the 9:51 mark.

The Seahawks scored eight out of the next 10 points, however, and inched ahead, 19-17, on the second of back-to-back three-pointers by Harden-Hayes.

UNCW heads back across the border for a three-game homestand, beginning on Tuesday, Dec. 6, against East Carolina. Tip is 7 p.m. at Trask Coliseum.

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