By Ethan Marsh, Reporter
WILMINGTON, NC - Thursday night’s game in Trask Coliseum was a must-win for the UNCW men’s basketball team to take control of the 1st place spot in the Colonial Athletic Association conference. It did not come easy against the feisty Hofstra Pride. Leading by as many as 16 at one point, the Seahawks lost to Hofstra in the final seconds 70-69.
This matchup marked the 34th time Hofstra and UNCW faced off in a game since Hofstra joined the CAA in the 2001-02 season. The win for Hofstra improved their overall record over the Seahawks to 18-16. The Team Teal and Screamin’ Seahawks led an initiative for spirit at they handed out navy blue shirts to create the competitive feel that is always present in Dub City. The crowd furiously cheered for the team as the 2015-16 Seahawk team has created a season for the ages, the best season in 10 years. Even though this matchup resulted in a loss, this season has been one for the ages and can still be as the CAA tournament is approaching.
Senior Craig Ponder appeared in his 125th career game tying it with greats Brett Blizzard, Chad Tomko, and Cedrick Williams for the most games played in a UNCW Seahawk uniform. Ponder also became the 22nd player to score 1,000 points at UNCW this season. Ponder came away with 13 points in this matchup on 50 percent shooting. Sophomore guard, Jordan Talley, continued his great presence on the UNCW court as he poured in 16 points off the bench for the leading scorer. Junior C.J. Gettys scored tied his highest points this season at 10 and added 9 rebounds, the leading rebounder of the game.
The UNCW men’s basketball team played a convincing 1st half to go into halftime at a 41-25 lead off of a 34-16 run after being down 9-7 early. Hofstra was not out by any means as the team took over the second half and eased the deficit slowly but surely. UNCW still led 58-47 later in the 2nd half and led 66-60 after a Craig Ponder 3-pointer with 2:11 left. Hofstra scored 2 3-pointers to narrow the gap to 69-68. Then Hofstra scored with 20 seconds left to make the final score 70-69 as UNCW’s several attempts to score fell short in the final seconds.
This loss dropped the Seahawks record to 21-7 and marks only the 2nd home loss this season. Hofstra winning it tied the two teams for 1st place in the conference at 13-4 and make it where the winner of the regular season will be determined on Saturday as UNCW plays Towson at 1pm at Trask Coliseum in Wilmington, North Carolina as a part of Senior Day and Hofstra plays College of Charleston at 4pm at home in Hempstead, New York. The CAA conference tournament will take place in Baltimore, Maryland March 4th-7th.