WILMINGTON, North Carolina (UNCWSports.com) – Junior forward Devontae Cacok snagged 21 rebounds to eclipse the single-season record as UNCW buried Elon, 87-63, in Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball action on Thursday night at Trask Coliseum.
The Seahawks climbed to 9-18 overall and 6-9 in the CAA with their eighth home victory of the season. The Phoenix, playing for the first time since Feb. 8, dropped to 14-13 and 6-8 in the league.
UNCW completed a sweep of the regular season series with the Phoenix after posting its second best victory margin in the 19-game series.
“We were clicking on all cylinders early,” said C.B. McGrath, UNCW’s first-year head coach. “We just made some shots and we were really active on defense. We were really unselfish in the first half and made plays for each other.
“We did a nice job of challenging shots in the lane. We wanted to get off to a good start in the second half and we did.”
Cacok, the nation’s leading rebounder and reigning CAA Co Player-of-the-Week, pumped in 17 points and snatched 21 rebounds. He notched his CAA-leading 19th double-double of the season and 32nd of his career. It marked the third 20-rebound game of his career and broke Brian Rowsom’s longtime record for rebounds in a season (345) by increasing his total to 355 caroms.
Cacok was one of many stars for the Seahawks on a night that saw the ball fall into the bucket early and often. Redshirt sophomore guard Ty Taylor poured in a game-high 19 points, senior playmaker Jordon Talley contributed 15 points and five assists and sophomore guard Jaylen Fornes collected 13. Senior forward Marcus Bryan also had 11 rebounds for the Seahawks as the CAA’s top rebounding team built a 53-28 advantage on the glass.
Junior forward Tyler Seibring paced the Phoenix with 18 points and junior guard Dainan Swope finished with 14. Elon shot just 33.9 percent in the contest, including a dismal 23.3 percent in the final period.
After racing out to a 54-36 cushion at halftime by shooting a sizzling 59.4 percent, the Seahawks continued the onslaught after the break and never let the Phoenix get closer than 18 points the rest of the way.
UNCW registered its largest lead of the game with 3:23 left to play when Fornes drained a triple along the left wing as the margin ballooned to 83-56.
UNCW blew the game open early with pinpoint shooting, setting the Phoenix on their heels minutes into the contest. The Seahawks sank 15 of their first 19 shots and set the tone for the night.
The Seahawks were nursing a 14-12 lead five minutes into the game before catching fire. Led by Talley and Taylor, UNCW went on a 23-7 run to break away. Taylor connected on a tip-in with10:24 left to cap a seven-point spurt and give the Seahawks a comfortable 37-19 advantage. The rally was part of a 16-3 run that extended the margin to 46-22 with 6:57 left in the first half.
The Seahawks wound up taking a 54-36 lead into halftime after making 19-of-32 from the field, including 11-of-17 from long distance. UNCW finished the night hitting 15-of-30 behind the arc.
The Seahawks remain at Trask Coliseum to close out the ’17-18 home schedule by entertaining rival Charleston on Saturday at 7 p.m. It will be final home appearance for seniors Marcus Bryan, Nick Powell and Jordon Talley.
GAME NOTES: UNCW won the first game of the series, 80-78, in overtime on Jan. 11 in its final appearance at Alumni Gym…The Seahawks own an 11-8 advantage in the series and stand 6-2 against Elon since the Phoenix joined the CAA in 2014-15…Elon redshirt senior forward Brian Dawkins sat out the game with a wrist injury…UNCW has won its last two home games by 20 and 24 points over conference foes…The Seahawks had 18 assists on 29 baskets…UNCW owned a 22-4 advantage in second chance points…Devontae Cacok had nine of UNCW’s 18 offensive boards…Elon finished 10-of-37 from deep…UNCW swept the regular series from Elon for the second time since the Phoenix joined the loop…Devontae Cacoknow has 998 points in 91 career appearances, just two shy of the 1,000-point milestone.