Sims lift UNCW to 12th CAA Finals with 26-point double-double
WASHINGTON, DC (March 7, 2022) –Senior guard Jaylen Sims scored a season-high 26 points to lift second seed UNCW past No. 6 Charleston, 60-57, in an intense semifinal battle at the 2022 CAA Men’s Basketball Championship presented by Jersey Mike’s Monday evening at the Entertainment & Sports Arena.
The win sends UNCW (23-8) into the CAA Championship game for the first time since 2017, where the Seahawks face fifth seed Delaware for the conference title at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Charleston drops to 17-15 in the loss.
Sims, who was 5 of 7 from 3-point range, also grabbed a team-best 11 rebounds for his third double-double of the season. Mike Okauru added 11 points and UNCW got eight points apiece from Trazarien White and Amari Kelly.
Guard Dimitrius Underwood had 21 points on 10 shooting on 20 FGs and grabbed eight rebounds for Charleston. Raekwon Horton posted a double-double with 11 points and 10 boards and John Meeks had eight points.
UNCW got off to a flying start as Sims and White combined for all Seahawks points in an 11-2 surge in the first five minutes of the game. However, UNCW scored just one field goal over the next nine minutes and Charleston came back, tying the game at 18-18 on a Meeks board with 5:46 left in the half. Sims, who had 15 points in the first half on 4-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc, drained a pair of treys in the final 2:07 to put UNCW ahead 28-26 at the break.
The second half was a home and away contest, with neither side holding more than a four-point lead in the final 20 minutes. Charleston took the lead for the first time in the game, 35-34, on a Horton layup, with 15:53 to go. Over the next seven minutes, the teams traded the lead seven times and were tied three times, including at 48 on a Horton three-pointer with 8:15 to go.
Meeks made a jumper with 6:16 left that put the Cougars ahead 52-48, but UNCW responded with six straight points and took a 54-52 advantage over Shykeim Phillips’ bucket with 3:23 on the clock. . Hanging on to a 58-57 advantage, the Seahawks missed a jumper with 19 seconds left, giving the Cougars one last chance to regain the lead. However, Meeks was called for an offensive foul on a drive into the paint with 2.4 seconds on the clock. Sims pushed the lead to three with two free throws with 2.1 seconds left and UNCW deflected the last inbound pass when time expired.
UNCW will make its 12th appearance in the Finals on Tuesday night and will be looking to win its seventh CAA championship, which would be the most in league history.
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