WILMINGTON, North Carolina – Senior forward Tyler Seibring exploded for a career-high 32 points, including 21 points in the second half, to propel visiting Elon past UNCW, 89-82, in Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball action on Saturday afternoon at Trask Coliseum.
The Phoenix improved to 7-15 overall and 3-6 in the CAA with their second conference road victory. The Seahawks stand 8-14 and 4-5.
Seibring converted 12-of-16 from the field and all three of his free throws to anchor four Elon players in double figures. Fellow senior Steven Santa Ana added 24 points, while sophomore guard Nathan Priddy and freshman guard Kris Wooten chipped in 13 apiece.
Sophomore guard Ty Gadsden paced the Seahawks with 22 points. Senior forward Devonte Cacok notched his 16th double-double of the season with 20 points and 19 rebounds, freshman guard Kai Toews added 13 points and 12 assists – his fifth double-double of the season – and sophomore guard Jay Estime’ finished with 10 points.
Cacok, who has racked up a double-double in all nine conference games, set the school record for career double-doubles with the 51st two-way gem in his career. He broke the record held by all-time great Brian Rowsom (1984-87).
Elon canned eight of its first 14 field goals to grab control early and withstood several runs by the Seahawks to win at Trask Coliseum for the first time. The Phoenix led by as many as 19 points in the first half and held on in the final minutes as UNCW staged a late comeback.
Leading 78-66 after Seibring converted a timely four-point play with 4:09 remaining, the Phoenix watched the Seahawks trim the deficit to four points. Toews dropped in a pair of free throws and Gadsden drained back-to-back three’s as UNCW climbed within, 78-74, at the 1:32 mark.
But Seibring answered with an off balance jumper on the left elbow on the next possession to get the margin back to six points and the Phoenix buried 9-of-12 free throws in the final 52 seconds to nail down the victory.
Elon capitalized on UNCW’s cold shooting to gain some early confidence. The Phoenix reeled off 12 unanswered points over a three-minute stretch midway through the first period and led, 25-12, after Priddy’s trifecta with 12:01 left in the first period.
After UNCW reserve forward Shawn O’Connell’s bucket underneath narrowed the deficit to 29-19, the Phoenix scored eight points in a row to build a 37-19 cushion on Andy Pack’s conventional three-point play with 5:54 left in the period.
Elon, which enjoyed its largest lead of the game, 41-22, with 2:52 on the clock, carried a 41-28 lead into the half after shooting 48.6 percent and holding the Seahawks to 31.4 percent in the first 20 minutes.
SERIES UPDATE: The Seahawks still lead the all-time series with the Phoenix, 11-9, and have won six of the nine pairings between the two teams since Elon joined the CAA during the 2014-15 seson.
ARC MADNESS: UNCW matched the school record for three-point field goals attempted (10-of-39) and broke the high-water mark for a CAA game. The previous high for a conference game was 36 tries at William & Mary on Jan. 28, 2017.
HOME RECORD: The Seahawks are 4-6 at home this season and 2-3 in conference home contests.
DAYTIME HOOPS: The Seahawks own a 4-3 record in afternoon games this season following Saturday’s loss to the Phoenix.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS: Devontae Cacok’s 19 rebounds tied for the fifth most against a CAA team. He has totaled three double-doubles against the Phoenix during his career.
KEY MOMENT: The Seahawks had trimmed the deficit to eight points with just over five minutes remaining, but Seibring sank a jump shot, was fouled on the play and made the ensuing free throw to push the Phoenix back ahead, 78-66.
QUOTABLE: “They made a lot of shots and made some tough three’s. We battled back and played really hard in the second half. In the end, it wasn’t enough. We just didn’t get the rebounds that we needed to after we got the stops.” – UNCW Head Coach C.B. McGrath
SUITS AND SNEAKERS: The game was the second of two Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers games. Suits and Sneakers Week (Jan. 22-28, 2019) is a nationwide event that unites coaches across the country to raise funds and awareness about the fight against cancer. Both coaching staffs donned sneakers with their game attire as a visible reminder on the importance of nutrition and physical activity to reduce cancer risk.
NEXT UP: The Seahawks play the third leg of four consecutive home games at Trask Coliseum on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019, when Towson visits the Port City for a 7 p.m. tip-off.