WILMINGTON, North Carolina – Junior forward Devontae Cacok turned in a monster game of 26 points and 24 rebounds to power UNCW to its seventh straight win over James Madison in a 71-68 Colonial Athletic Association victory over the Dukes on Thursday night at Trask Coliseum.
The Seahawks improved to 7-14 overall and 4-5 in the CAA with their second straight victory. The Dukes had a two-game winning streak snapped and stand 6-16 and 2-7.
UNCW shoots for a perfect 3-0 record on its extended home stand when William & Mary visits Trask Coliseum on Saturday for a 7 p.m. tip-off.
“It was another close game and another exciting finish,” said UNCW head coach C.B. McGrath, who faced JMU for the first time. “We didn’t want the fans to leave early. I like how we keep battling. We came out and were walking around early. It was a game of runs and we had the last run.
“Devontae was real active. The more minutes he gets, the more rebounds he gets. I knew he was racking them up.”
The 6-7, 240-pound Cacok tied his own record for most rebounds in a CAA game and recorded only the second 20-20 game in UNCW history. Cacok, third among NCAA Division I players in double-doubles, nailed down his 15th double-double of the season and 28th of his career. Senior point guard Jordon Talley came off the bench to collect 13 points to give the Seahawks two players in double figures.
Junior transfer Stuckey Mosley, the CAA’s third leading scorer, poured in 21 of his team-high 23 points in the second half for the Dukes. Freshman guard Matt Lewis wound up with 21 points, including 17 in the first half for JMU, which shot 43.9 percent on the night.
Cacok’s rebounding total matched the school-record 24 boards he pulled down vs. Drexel on Jan. 21, 2017, and surpassed the 23 rebounds by Hofstra’s Rokas Gustys for the most caroms this season in the NCAA Division I ranks. Cacok joined former Seahawk great Matt Fish in the 20-20 club, following up Fish’s 22 points and 20 rebounds at American on Jan. 20, 1992.
UNCW carved out a 33-32 lead at halftime and broke away from the Dukes midway through the second half before JMU rallied again down the stretch. A big bucket by Talley in front of the Seahawk bench with just over a minute to play proved to be the back breaker for the Dukes.
After Talley sank a triple to give the Seahawks their largest lead of the game, 67-58, with 4:39 remaining, the Dukes scored seven straight points and pulled within 67-65 on a layup by Mosley at 1:57.
But on the next possession, Talley connected on another trifecta, this time with the shot clock expiring and 1:29 on the clock, to push the margin back to 70-65. Mosley then converted a three-point play to close the gap to 70-68 with 31 seconds on the clock and after a missed one-and-one attempt, the Dukes were fouled at the other end of the court with 5.8 seconds left, only to miss a pair of free throws. Sophomore guard Jaylen Fornes then grabbed the rebound, was fouled and made the first of two free throws to seal the game.
It was all Lewis in the early going for the Dukes, who converted five of their first nine field goal attempts to grab an early 14-6 advantage. The newcomer for the Dukes made his first four shots, including three triples, scoring 12 of JMU’s first 14 points in the contest. He knocked down a four-point play on a trifecta and free throw at 14:36 to give the Dukes a 14-6 lead.
But Cacok was active in the opening minutes as well and the junior from Riverdale, Ga., scored 10 of UNCW’s first 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting. A reverse layup by Cacok with 12:02 left capped a string of six straight points and pulled the Seahawks within 14-12.
UNCW sliced the deficit to one point, 28-27, on a putback by Jacque Brown with just over four minutes remaining in the half.
The Dukes pushed the lead back to 32-27 before the Seahawks took a 33-32 edge on a Cacok tip dunk with 27 seconds left in the first period. UNCW took a 33-32 lead into the break after scoring the final six points of the half and outrebounding the Dukes, 22-16, on the glass.
GAME NOTES: The Seahawks are now 40-33 vs. the Dukes lifetime…UNCW stands 22-11 against JMU at Trask Coliseum…UNCW has not lost to JMU at home since Jan. 4, 2014…UNCW has nine games remaining in the regular season – four at home and five on the road…Cacok posted his eighth 20-point game of the season…Cacok did not commit a personal foul in the first half, but ended up fouling out for the eighth time this season…The Seahawks won the battle of the offensive glass, 17-6…UNCW had 17 second-chance points…Both teams had 10 assists apiece…Marcus Bryan led the team in assists with four dimes…The Seahawks shot 42.9 percent in the first half and 44.8 percent after the break…UNCW went 1-for-6 from long distance in the first half and 5-of-13 in the second period…The Seahawks have won two in a row for the first time this season…Devontae Cacok‘s 24 rebounds was the 11th time this season that a Division I player has grabbed at least 20 rebounds.