WILMINGTON, North Carolina – Senior forward Devontae Cacok smashed his own school record for rebounds in a game and sophomore guard Ty Gadsen poured in a career-high 26 points to power UNCW past NAIA member Allen, 113-74, in a men’s basketball contest early Sunday at Trask Coliseum.
The Seahawks, 1-3, found the win column for the first time this season with the convincing victory before 3,622 fans. The contest was considered part of the VisitCurrituckOBX.com Battle In The Blue Ridge exempt tournament that will continue this week in Asheville, N.C.
Gadsden, a transfer from Vincennes who had scored nine points in UNCW’s first three games, surpassed that with 14 points at halftime and wound up connecting on 8-for-11 from the field, including 7-for-10 from behind the arc.
The active Cacok broke his own record of 24 rebounds and closed with his second career 20-20 game behind 22 points and 26 boards. The rebound total included 11 offensive rebounds.
Junior forward Jeantal Cylla chipped in 14 points, sophomore guard Jay Estime’ scored 11 and freshman playmaker Kai Toews pitched in 10 to give the Seahawks five players in double figures.
Keith Rolle and Elijah Fabyan scored 19 points apiece to pace the Yellow Jackets.
The Seahawks, capping a three-game home stand, started off strong behind Cacok’s inside play and led by as many as 19 points in the first half before outscoring Allen, 58-29, in the second half en route to the 39-point win.
While Cacok was dominating the inside from the outset, Gadsden heated up from the perimeter. Gadsen made every shot he attempted in the first half, hitting 4-for-4 field goals, 3-for-3 from long distance and all three of his free throws for a perfect first period.
The Seahawks reeled off 11 unanswered points midway through the first half and the margin swelled to 40-21, on back-to-back treys by Gadsden before the Yellow Jackets closed the gap to 10 points at the break.
Allen hung around until the bottom dropped out for the Columbia, S.C., school with 15 minutes left. The Seahawks used another 11-0 spurt and Cacok added to his impressive stats as the game blew open. Estime’s triple with 3:24 remaining gave the Seahawks their largest lead of the game, 107-63.
The Seahawks shot 56 percent from the floor on the day, the second best in C.B. McGrath’s tenure. It was also McGrath’s sixth double-digit victory since taking over the program.
KEY MOMENT: With 3:49 left in the contest, Devontae Cacok broke his own school record by snaring a defensive rebound on Anthony Butler’s missed three-point attempt.
ROLLING UP THE NUMBERS: The 113 points represented the most scored by the Seahawks since a 126-113 win over Pfeiffer on Dec. 3, 2016, at Trask Coliseum.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS: The 113 points were the most scored by the Seahawks in C.B. McGrath’s 36 games as UNCW’s head coach.
CENTURY MARK: The game marked the fifth time the Seahawks have reached the century mark under McGrath.
STAT FILLERS: Eleven of the 12 players who saw action for the Seahawks scored Sunday, including reserve guard Daniel Etoroma, who scored his first collegiate points with a three-pointer in the left corner with 1:13 showing.
QUOTABLE: “I was really pleased with about eight to 10 minutes that we started in the second half. We had some energy, we had some life about us. The guys acted like they really wanted to play and help UNCW. It was refreshing after the first half.” – UNCW Head Coach C.B. McGrath.
NEXT UP: UNCW heads to the North Carolina mountains later this week to participate in the remainder of the VisitCurrituckOBX.com Battle In The Blue Ridge at the U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville. The Seahawks will play three straight games, beginning Friday with a 7:30 tip-off against Arkansas State’s Red Wolves.