UNCW comeback falls short in back to back with Towson

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TOWSON,MD (UNCW Sports)– Visiting UNCW stormed back from a 15-point deficit with five minutes left to pull within one possession, but came up short in a 78-74 loss as Towson swept an early-week Colonial Athletic Association series on Tuesday at SECU Arena.

The Tigers, who took Monday’s matchup, 72-69, won their second straight to improve to 3-5 overall and 2-1 in the CAA. The Seahawks lost their second in a row and stand 6-5 overall and 0-2 in the league heading into a Saturday, Jan. 23, matchup with Delaware’s Blue Hens at Trask Coliseum.

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Redshirt senior guard Zane Martin was the big point-producer again for the Tigers, scoring 24 points to go along with 21 on Monday. Sophomore forward Charles Thompson added 17 points, sophomore forward Solomon Uyaelunmo scored 12 and sophomore guard Jason Gibson finished with 10 for Towson, which matched its season high in scoring.

Senior guard Mike Okauru poured in a career-high 25 points and freshman guard Jamahri Harvey bucketed a career-best 21 points for the Seahawks. Sophomore guard Joe Pridgen chipped in 10 points for UNCW.

The Seahawks trailed, 68-53, when Uyaelunmo converted a conventional three-point play, but catapulted back into the game with an 11-0 spurt in a 1:12 stretch. The two teams traded buckets and a pair of free throws by Okauru brought the Seahawks within, 76-74, with 27 seconds showing.

Martin then missed the front end of a bonus situation with 18.7 seconds remaining, but a spinning layup by Pridgen rimmed off with 2.2 seconds on the clock, leaving the Seahawks winless in their first two conference outings following a wild finish to the contest.

“Give a lot of credit to Towson,” said Takayo Siddle, UNCW’s first-year head coach. “We don’t do moral victories. I thought we beat ourselves. Not to discredit Towson, I thought we made too many mistakes in both games. We have to clean up some of the mental errors we’re making.

“We did some good things in the first half, but I didn’t like how we closed out the half. Our energy wasn’t what it needed to be throughout the whole game. I thought it wavered and they took advantage of it. We had to play catch-up in the second half. We did a good job of fighting back and had a chance to tie the game or get it into overtime.”