|2017-18 Record: 4-12, 1-3 CAA||2017-18 Record: 11-6, 3-1 CAA|
|Last Game: l. at Delaware, 96-76, 1-7-18||Last Game: w. at Hofstra, 89-76, 1-7-18|
|Head Coach: C.B. McGrath (1st Season)||Head Coach: Matt Matheny (9th Season)|
|Roster | Schedule-Results | Statistics | Website||Roster | Schedule-Results | Statistics | Website|
WILMINGTON, North Carolina – When the UNCW men’s basketball team plays its third conference road game of the season on Thursday night in Elon, it will mark the club’s final appearance at 68-year-old Alumni Gym and Head Coach C.B. McGrath‘s first visit to the CAA’s smallest arena.
The Seahawks, 4-12 overall and 1-3 in the Colonial Athletic Association, take on surging Elon at 7 p.m. The Phoenix, 11-6 and 3-1 in the CAA, have won four of their last five games after being picked to finish third in the 10-team circuit.
“We have great energy and activity every day in practice but for some reason, in the game, we get wide-eyed,” said McGrath before Wednesday’s afternoon practice. “”There’s no frustration on the court…they’re all trying to learn and are doing what we ask them to do.
“Offensively, we like what we’re doing with getting open looks. We need the shots to go in that haven’t. Defensively, we need to have the mentality that we’re going to get stops, whether that’s the second possession, eighth possession or last possession.”
“Other teams have taken quite a few ‘L’s’ over the last few years. People are coming in trying to get a win and they’re not feeling sorry for us.”
UNCW completes a three-game CAA road swing after dropping a pair of outings last weekend at Towson (89-71) and Delaware (96-76). The Seahawks are still looking for their first victory away from the Port City after losses in six true road games and four neutral site contests.
The Seahawks are tied with Drexel for eighth place in the CAA at 1-3. Elon is tied for second place with Northeastern at 3-1.
It will be the 18th meeting between the two schools, but just the seventh as CAA opponents. UNCW owns a slim 9-8 advantage in the series and has claimed four of the last six matchups between the two teams since Elon joined the conference in the 2014-15 season. The Seahawks own a 3-5 mark against the Phoenix at Alumni Gym, which opened in 1949.
Elon enters the contest with a perfect 6-0 home ledger. The Phoenix downed Hofstra, 89-76, on the road last Sunday after falling at Northeastern in the first leg of a two-game CAA road trip. The Phoenix have already played three overtime games in 2017-18, going three extra periods vs. FIU on Nov. 17, 2017, at the Black & Gold Shootout in Milwaukee, Wisc.
McGrath said: “I really don’t know much about Elon because I’ve been working on our team since I got back. I know they make three’s. They have five guys who are almost averaging double figures. They have guys who have been through it all. Coach Matheny has been there a long time and worked with Coach (Bob) McKillop at Davidson. They run a lot of similar stuff with nice movement and actions to get open looks from three. People know they’re going to shoot three’s. They do a great job of running their stuff.”
In the last game played between the Seahawks and Phoenix at Alumni Gym, Elon rallied from eight points down at halftime by holding visiting UNCW to 38.2 percent in the second half to escape with a 77-76 victory on Feb. 11, 2017, and hand Matheny a win on his 47th birthday. Brian Dawkins anchored five players in double figures for the Phoenix with 24 points. Tyler Seibring chipped in 14 points and a game-high eight rebounds. Jordon Talley came off the bench to collect 20 points for UNCW.
The Seahawks have faced Matheny seven times. UNCW stands 5-2 against the Phoenix skipper, averaging 79.2 ppg against the former Davidson hoops player.
The contest is the seventh of eight games for the Seahawks vs. North Carolina opponents this season and the Seahawks stand 3-3 this year vs state foes. UNCW has met Campbell, Davidson, East Carolina, Elon (twice), Greensboro, UNC Greensboro and N.C. Wesleyan. In its last game vs. a North Carolina opponent, UNCW blasted NCAA Division III Greensboro College, 101-60, in the first outing after the Christmas break on Dec. 28, 2017.
Junior forward Devontae Cacok of UNCW leads all NCAA Division I players in rebounds per game (13.0) and ranks second in total rebounds (208). He also stands third in offensive rebounds per game (4.63), and ranks fourth in defensive rebounds per game (8.38). The Riverdale, Ga., product also stands second in double-doubles (12).
Following Thursday’s matchup with the Phoenix, the Seahawks return home to entertain Northeastern on Saturday, Jan. 13, at Trask Coliseum. It will be the first pairing of the season with the Huskies.
Live Seahawk Digital Network (SDN) coverage of the UNCW-Elon contest begins at 6:45 p.m. with Mike Vaccaro, the “Voice of the Seahawks,” calling the action. Visit UNCWsports.com/SDN for live audio coverage. In addition, a radio broadcast of the game may be heard on “The Ticket” 95.9 FM and WKXB (99.9 FM-HD3).
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).