WILMINGTON, North Carolina – Three months after spending a week practicing on North Carolina’s campus due to the impact of Hurricane Florence in early September, C.B. McGrath and his UNCW Seahawks return to the Dean E. Smith Center on Wednesday night for a regular season test with the 14th-ranked Tar Heels and Hall of Fame Coach Roy Williams.
The Seahawks, 4-5, and Tar Heels, 6-2, collide in a 9 p.m. nationally televised contest (ESPN2) that marks only the fourth meeting between the two state schools. UNCW and UNC will play again next season in Wilmington.
The matchup is the first of four straight road games before the Christmas holiday for the Seahawks, who have only played one true road outing this season.
“I was there for quite a long time and I know the system and what it’s about,” said McGrath, who spent 14 seasons as an assistant coach alongside Williams in Chapel Hill. “I’m just going to get our guys prepared. We try to prepare them for every game. UNC is long, athletic and they attack in transition, so we’re going to get all five guys back quicker and try to build a wall to slow them in transition.”
The Seahawks had a two-game winning streak snapped last Saturday when Davidson’s Wildcats rallied in the last 10 minutes to pull out a 91-85 decision before 4,084 at Trask Coliseum. Senior forward Devontae Cacok posted his 41st career double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds and sophomore forward Jeantal Cylla collected 18 points, but the Wildcats shot 56.9 percent to nail down the road win.
The Tar Heels last played on Wednesday, Nov 28, when Michigan’s Wolverines cruised to an 84-67 victory in Ann Arbor. Michigan outscored UNC, 34-16, in the first 12:13 of the second half to break the game open after leading just 39-35 at halftime. The Tar Heels opened the season with five straight wins before dropping two of their last three outings.
The Seahawks are only 2-40 against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents overall, but only three of those games have been played at Trask Coliseum. UNCW’s last win over an ACC school came on Dec. 12, 2010, when the Seahawks defeated Wake Forest, 81-69, at the Greensboro Coliseum.
UNCW is tackling the sixth of eight games against North Carolina opponents this season. The Seahawks stand 1-4 against state opponents in 2018-19, beating East Carolina (95-86) and losing to Campbell (97-93, OT), UNCG (82-61), Gardner-Webb (81-72) and Davidson (91-85).
Live Seahawk Digital Network (SDN) coverage of Wednesday’s UNCW-North Carolina game starts at 8:45 p.m. with Mike Vaccaro, the “Voice of the Seahawks,” providing the call. Visit UNCWsports.com/SDN for live audio coverage.
A radio broadcast of the game may be heard on 95.9 FM “The Breeze” | WKXB HD 2 – 95.9 FM and 99.9 HD2 and live stats are available at UNCWStats.com.
GOING NATIONAL: The Seahawks are appearing on ESPN2 for the first time since a 49-44 loss at VCU on Feb. 7, 2004. UNCW stands 2-4 in games played on the Deuce through the years.
OFFENSIVE SHOW: Wednesday’s game could be a high scoring affair. Both teams feature four players averaging in double figures, with UNCW collecting 82.0 ppg and UNC averaging 929 ppg.
DEJA VU: The Seahawks return to Chapel Hill after being displaced by Hurricane Florence in September and spending six days in the area.
RANKED OPPONENTS: The Seahawks are facing a ranked opponent for the 35th time on Wednesday and the first time since falling, 76-71, to Virginia in the 2017 NCAA Tournament.
EVERYTHING SEAHAWKS: For more information on the UNCW men’s basketball team, visit UNCWsports.com and click on the men’s basketball button. Additional information is also available on UNCW’s social media channels: Facebook (UNCW Men’s Basketball), Twitter (@UNCWmenshoops), Instagram (UNCWBasketball).