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UNCW's Devontae Cacok scores against UNC during an exhibition in Chapel Hill on Nov. 5, 2017. (Photo: Dustin Dorsey/WWAY)
UNCW's Devontae Cacok scores against UNC during an exhibition in Chapel Hill on Nov. 5, 2017. (Photo: Dustin Dorsey/WWAY)

CHAPEL HILL, NC (UNCW SPORTS) — First-year Head Coach C.B. McGrath said the defending Colonial Athletic Association champion UNCW men’s basketball team gained a lot of valuable experience in a series of games to benefit the governor’s Disaster Relief Fund on Sunday at the Dean E. Smith Center.

The Seahawks and McGrath, who spent 14 seasons on the bench with head coach Roy Williams, went 2-1 on the day, defeating UNC Greensboro and East Carolina – a pair of state teams they’ll face during the regular season – and falling to defending national champion North Carolina.

With Gov. Roy Cooper and several Tar Heel coaches and former players in attendance, UNCW navigated 40 minutes over three different segments, utilizing several lineup combinations.

Junior forward Devontae Cacok, a First-Team All-CAA preseason pick, scored 20 points in the three sessions to pace the Seahawks. Senior playmaker Jordon Talley added 15 points and freshman shooter Jeff Gary collected 10 markers.

“It wasn’t your true exhibition game because we saw three different opponents,” said McGrath. “We saw three different styles and it was terrific getting to play in front of some fans.

“It was the best-case scenario for us. We got to see some different styles and help people in North Carolina who really need some help after suffering from recent disasters. We were honored to be a part of it.”

UNCW heads into its final week of practice for Saturday’s regular season opener vs. N.C. Wesleyan at Trask Coliseum. The Seahawks and Battling Bishops tip off at 7 p.m. in McGrath’s debut as UNCW’s head coach.

Inspired by Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson’s charity efforts following Hurricane Harvey, Kansas head coach Bill Self originated the idea of charity games as president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).

Each season, NCAA Division I programs are allowed to play two preseason games – any combination of exhibition games vs. non-DI programs or closed scrimmages vs. DI opponents. Since most schedules were already completed, a waiver from the NCAA was required, with all proceeds going toward charity. A total of 84 NCAA Division I programs have participated in the special games.

Money from the governor’s N.C. Disaster Relief Fund is being distributed to non-profit and faith-based organizations that are helping with recovery efforts to offset the estimated $1.6 billion in damage incurred by Hurricane Matthew. North Carolina requested $929 million in disaster relief from the federal government, but received just $6.1 million.

Disaster Relief Jamboree Game Results | Nov. 5, 2017

North Carolina 21, East Carolina 20
UNCW 19, UNCG 16
UNCW 24, East Carolina 22
UNCG 32, North Carolina 24
UNCG 15, East Carolina 15
North Carolina 38, UNCW 22

UNCW 19, UNCG 16

The Seahawks jumped out on the Spartans, 9-2, and survived a last-second shot by Justin Jordan to hold on for a 19-16 victory in the second of six mini-games on the day.

UNCW shot 50 percent, canning 9-of-18 shots, and outrebounded UNCG, 12-10, as Cacok contributed eight points and added six boards.

Five different players reached the scoring column for UNCW, which started Jordon Talley (G), Jaylen Fornes (G), Ty Taylor (G), Marcus Bryan (F) and Cacok (F) in the scrimmage.

The Spartans and Coach Wes Miller enjoyed a record-setting season in 2016-17, winning the Southern Conference title and carving out a 25-10 record. UNCG was picked to finish third in the SoCon preseason poll behind junior guard Francis Alonso, who led the team with 14.9 ppg and a program-record 102 three-pointers one year ago.

UNCW's Devontae Cacok scores against UNCG during an exhibition in Chapel Hill on Nov. 5, 2017. (Photo: Dustin Dorsey/WWAY)

UNCW’s Devontae Cacok scores against UNCG during an exhibition in Chapel Hill on Nov. 5, 2017. (Photo: Dustin Dorsey/WWAY)

UNCW 24, East Carolina 22

The Seahawks used balanced scoring and a strong effort on the glass to edge the Pirates, 24-22, in a matchup of longtime rivals.

After the Greenville club scored the first four points of the contest, the Seahawks rattled off 10 of the next 13 points for a 10-7 advantage after freshman Jay Estime’ sank a trey on the left side.

Talley paced all scorers with eight points and Estime’ chipped in six points and two rebounds.

ECU fashioned a 15-18 record last season and is picked to finish 11th in the American Athletic Conference. Kentrell Barkley is ECU’s top returning scorer and rebounder with 13.2 ppg and 7.6 rpg.

North Carolina 38, UNCW 22

The Seahawks ran into a fired-up Tar Heel squad in the day’s finale and lost, 38-22, to the hosts after UNC came up short, 32-24, to UNCG earlier in the afternoon.

The Tar Heels made 15-of-25 shots for a sizzling 65.2 percent in building an early 20-11 advantage and used a 10-0 run late in the contest to pull away.

Gary was a bright spot for the Seahawks. The Colorado Springs sharpshooter sank 3-of-4 from deep to lead the team with nine points. Cacok chipped in eight points on 4-of-6 shooting.

The Tar Heels carved out a 33-7 record in 2016-17 with Joel Berry as the catalyst. Berry collected 14.7 ppg and dished out a team-high 138 assists. Theo Pinson added 6.1 ppg for UNC.


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