Late surge pushes Hofstra over UNCW Men’s Basketball for weekend sweep

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WILMINGTON, NC (UNCW Sports)–UNCW went toe-to-toe with Colonial Athletic Association preseason favorite Hofstra for the second straight day and the Pride held on for an 89-83 men’s basketball victory early Sunday at Trask Coliseum.

The streaking Pride, who took the first game in the series 82-73 on Saturday, won its fifth consecutive game to extend its record to 11-6 overall and 7-3 in the CAA. The Seahawks dropped their fifth decision in six games and now stand 7-8 and 1-5.

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“Give a lot of credit to Hofstra,” said first-year UNCW Head Coach Takayo Siddle. “They’re a good basketball team. I don’t think they’re limited at any spot on the court. They know how to win. Coach (Mike) Farrelly is doing an unbelievable job as acting head coach. They did everything they needed to do to win the game at the end.

“I’m proud of our guys. They fought. I don’t have anything negative to say about our group. I’m asking guys to play close to 40 minutes a game and they’re playing so hard and starting to play together more. That’s all I can ask of them.”

Five players reached double figures in scoring for the Pride, topped by junior forward Isaac Kante’s season-high 21 points. Senior guard Jalen Ray contributed 18 points, freshman forward Kvonn Cramer added a career-best 17 points and 11 rebounds, freshman point guard Caleb Burgess scored 15 and reserve guard Omar Silverio had 10.

Senior guard Mike Okauru of UNCW poured in a career-high 30 points to lead all scorers. He went 12-of-26 from the field and made all six of his free throws for the point total. The Raleigh product filled up the stat sheet with nine rebounds, six assists and three steals.

Sophomore guard Jake Boggs added 21 points and senior guard Ty Gadsden and freshman guard Jamahri Harvey finished with 11 points each for the Seahawks. Gadsden was perfect at the line again, making 6-of-6 free throws to extend his nation-leading streak to 44 in a row.

Hofstra jumped ahead 49-41, at intermission, but watched the lead dissipate midway through the second period before closing out the win in the final two minutes.

A Burgess three-pointer with 13:37 remaining staked the Pride to a 61-55 advantage, but Harvey responded with a three-ball and Okauru knifed through the lane for a layup to get the Seahawks within 61-60 at the 12:14 mark.

Okauru then sank a driving layup and added two free throws to give the Seahawks a 76-75 edge with just under five minutes left.

The Seahawks were still within striking distance after sophomore guard Joe Pridgen’s fadeaway jumper made the score 84-83, but the Pride held the Seahawks scoreless over the final 2:06 to register the road sweep.

The first half featured several big runs. Boggs, who went 2-for-9 in the series opener, scored the first 11 points for the Seahawks, but Hofstra canned seven its first nine field goals and built a 17-point cushion when Silverio tossed in a floater on the left baseline.

UNCW rallied back with a 12-0 run over a 3:03 stretch and John Bowen later scored his lone point of the game on a free throw with 3:05 on the clock to give the Seahawks a 41-40 lead. Hofstra closed out the half with a 9-0 spurt, however, capped by a conventional three-point play by Ray.

The Seahawks return to the court on Saturday, Feb. 6, with a 4 p.m. matchup at Elon. The Pride entertains Drexel on the same day at 2 p.m.