WILMINGTON, North Carolina – Forty-six days after kicking off the season with a trip to Buies Creek to face Campbell, the UNCW men’s basketball team puts the finishing touches on the 2018-19 non-conference schedule on Friday with a 7 p.m. tip against Southern Conference foe Mercer in Macon, Ga.
The Seahawks, 4-8, conclude a four-game road swing and two-game trip to the Peach State with their first matchup against the Bears since Dec. 17, 1977. It’s also the final contest for C.B. McGrath’s club before the Christmas holiday.
Live Seahawk Digital Network (SDN) coverage of the UNCW-MU contest starts at 6:45 p.m. with Mike Vaccaro, the “Voice of the Seahawks,” on 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.
The team continues its early-season Georgia swing. Three Seahawks – Devontae Cacok (Riverdale), Jay Estime’ (Duluth) and Shawn O’Connell (Roswell) played their prep careers in the Peach State.
Mercer brings a 4-7 record into the contest at orange-clad Hawkins Arena following a 71-63 loss on Wednesday night to Florida in Gainesville. The Bears are 4-1 on their home floor and have also dropped four in a row on the hardwood.
Like the Seahawks, the Bears were picked fifth in their conference race and feature an All-SoCon performer in junior guard Ross Cummings. The 6-1 backcourt star leads Mercer with 13.9 points per game, playing a team-high 319 minutes this season.
UNCW does have a connection to the Mercer program. Associate head coach Doug Esleeck spent seven seasons on Bob Hoffman’s staff before joining McGrath one year ago. The Bears racked up a 146-98 record during his time in Macon and made five postseason appearances.
THE LAST MEETING: The two teams are resuming a series that began during the 1964-65 season. UNCW leads the series, 4-2, but is making its first appearance in Hawkins Arena, a 3,500-seat arena that opened in 2004.
CAA Vs. SoCon: Friday’s tilt marks the eighth matchup this season between the CAA and SoCon. CAA teams are 1-6 against the SoCon in 2018-19, with the College of Charleston edging Western Carolina in the first pairing back on Nov. 10 representing the lone win.
SEAHAWKS VS. SoCON: The Seahawks have played eight of the current 10 members of the SoCon and compiled a 21-19 record against the group. UNCW is seeking its first win over the SoCon following losses to UNCG (82-61) and No. 23 Furman (93-50) this season.
COMMON OPPONENTS: Georgia State has been the only common opponent for UNCW and Mercer. The Panthers nipped the Bears, 62-60, on Nov. 13 in Atlanta and trimmed the Seahawks, 86-71, Wednesday night at the GSU Sports Arena.
NEXT UP: Following Friday’s game, the Seahawks break for the Christmas holiday before opening CAA action next Saturday, Dec. 29, at Trask Coliseum against the College of Charleston.
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).