WILMINGTON, NC (UNCW Sports)– UNCW scored nine of the first 11 points in overtime and held on to edge Campbell, 81-76, in the 105th meeting between the two longtime basketball rivals on Tuesday night at Trask Coliseum.
The Seahawks, 2-1, won for the first time in six tries in overtime against the Camels and moved to 25-2 at home in the series. Campbell, which dropped its 10th consecutive game in Wilmington, fell to 1-2 on the young season.
“We saw a little bit everything in that game…lead changes, back and forth, big shots, bonehead plays, offensive rebounds,” said third-year UNCW Head Coach C.B. McGrath. “It was a good early season ball game. It was nice to win in overtime. We got on a roll a few times and just couldn’t keep the momentum.”
Sophomore guard Jaylen Sims led the Seahawks for the third straight contest with 15 points, including nine in the crucial overtime period. Junior guard Jay Estime’ and sophomore guard Kai Toews had 12 points apiece, while freshman guard Shykeim Phillips and junior guard Mike Okauru chipped in 11 points apiece.
Junior guard Ja’Cor Nelson of CU led all scorers with 18 points, including 10 in the first half. Senior guard Corey Gensler scored 15 points and Cedric Henderson finished with 10.
After leading 31-28 at the break, the Seahawks bolted out to 39-30 margin in the second half on three-pointers by Okauru and Estime with just over 18 minutes remaining. The lead was still seven points at the three-minute mark before the Camels used a 9-2 spurt to force overtime. Campbell had an opportunity to win the game in regulation, but Gensler missed the second of two free throws with 2.5 seconds on the clock.
UNCW, which never trailed in the extra period, then started quickly in OT. Redshirt sophomore forward Marten Linssen opened the scoring in the extra stanza with a conventional three-point play and a jumper on the left baseline by Toews gave the Seahawks a 71-64 advantage.
After a Gensler triple with 9.6 ticks on the clock, Sims sealed the game by connecting on four free throws in the final eight seconds to help the Seahawks go 2-1 on their season-opening homestand.
The Seahawks outscored the Camels, 22-5, at the free throw line. UNCW drained 22-of-26 at the charity stripe for 84.6 percent. Campbell went 5-of-6 at the line.
UNCW held the Camels in check behind the arc. Campbell entered the game averaging 14 treys, but was limited to 5-of-21 from long distance on the night.
The Seahawks play their first road game of the season on Saturday when they travel to the Charlotte metro area to battle Davidson in a 7 p.m. tip at John M. Belk Arena. The Wildcats were picked to finish second in the Atlantic-10 Conference preseason poll.