WILMINGTON, North Carolina – UNCW held scrappy Guilford without a field goal over a four-minute stretch late in the second half to turn back the Quakers, 77-68, in the men’s basketball home opener for the Seahawks on Friday night at Trask Coliseum.
The Seahawks evened their record at 1-1 following a season-opening loss at Illinois State on Tuesday. Friday’s contest with NCAA Division III Guilford was classified as an exhibition game for the Quakers, who stand 0-2 on the new season.
“Give Guilford a lot of credit,” said Takayo Siddle, UNCW’s second-year head coach. “I’m glad we won tonight, but we can learn from our mistakes in a win. Overall, we responded to adversity well and got the job done.
“Going into the last media time out, I told them that adversity was right in front of them. It’s part of the process. We ramped our energy up, responded the right way and got the job done at the end.”
Junior guard Shykeim Philips led the Seahawks in scoring again, collecting 15 points, four rebounds and five steals in an all-around effort after putting up 14 points in Tuesday’s season debut at Illinois State. Senior guard Jaylen Sims added 13 points and eight boards and graduate guard Jaylen Fornes had 11.
Senior forward Liam Ward anchored three players in double digits for Guilford with a game-high 23 points. Junior forward Julius Burch had 14 points and 12 boards and redshirt senior guard Jaylen Gore finished with 10 points and eight assists.
The two teams had not played since Feb. 17, 1976, and hooked up in a tight one before 3,229 fans at Trask Coliseum.
A strong drive by the rangy Ward with 4:58 left to play brought the Quakers within 67-63 before the Seahawks combined some timely offense and spirited defense to build a working margin that lasted the final five minutes.
Phillips dropped in a pair of free throws to ignite an 8-0 run while the Quakers went 1-for-9 over a 3:54 stretch to help the Seahawks gain separation. UNCW made all five of its free throw attempts in the closing minutes and James Baker, Jr.’s dunk with 1:05 on the clock gave the Seahawks their largest lead of the game, 77-65.
In the first half, the Seahawks built a quick 10-5 advantage until Guilford reeled off 10 unanswered points, capped by Gore’s triple on the wing, for a 15-10 lead.
Guilford increased its lead to seven points and was still out front, 29-23, when the Seahawks battled back behind an eight-point spurt, 31-29, and took the lead for good, 33-31, on a putback by junior transfer forward Amari Kelly at the 2:32 mark.
The Seahawks continue their road-heavy November slate on Tuesday with a visit to the Petersen Events Center to play Pitt’s Panthers. Tip is 7 pm. from the Steel City.
GAME NOTES: Ten players saw action for UNCW and all 10 scored…The Seahawks had 17 assists on 27 baskets…Guilford outrebounded UNCW, 40-38…UNCW shot 42.9 percent from the field and Guilford wound up at 41.9 percent…The Seahawks scored 34 of their 77 points in the paint…The Seahawks played the first of only two home games in the month of November…UNCW is now 2-11 lifetime against Guilford…The same starting lineup opened the game for the Seahawks as the season opener in Illinois…UNCW stands 48-7 lifetime against non-Division I opponents since beginning DI play in 1976-77.