UNCW basketball: With one month to play, how do the Seahawks finish the season strong?

It's been an exciting season so far for the UNCW men's basketball team, and with just over a month to play, a lot can still happen.

After setting a program-record 13-game win streak to begin 2023, The Seahawks return to the court Thursday at Trask Coliseum against North Carolina A&T (7 p.m., FloSports).

The final eight games of the regular season will test the Seahawks even further, but strong performances from consistent playmakers can put the team in a great place at the end of February heading to the Colonial Athletic Association tournament.

Here's what UNCW needs to do to finish the 2022-2023 regular season on top before taking its shot at an NCAA Tournament bid.

SEAHAWKS FALLNo. 22 Charleston ends UNCW basketball's record win streak in CAA showdown

THE BEST EVER?Where does the UNCW-Charleston matchup land in Seahawks' list of home biggest games ever?

Spreading the love

UNCW's Maleeck Harden-Hayes has been terrific in CAA play.
UNCW's Maleeck Harden-Hayes has been terrific in CAA play.

Leading scorer Trezarian White's 13.4 points per game propelled UNCW (17-6, 7-3 CAA) to its longest win streak earlier this year. However, since that run ended vs. Charleston on Jan. 11, White has seen a slight dip in production, averaging only 10.4 points per game.

Bouncing back from two straight single-digit performances, White led all scorers with 16 points in last Thursday's win over Monmouth.

Guard Maleeck Harden-Hayes has been phenomenal during the last five games, scoring a career-high 31 points in the Seahawks' 61-52 win over Stony Brook on Jan. 21. He's 12-for-26 from 3-point range over that span.

"He doesn't care about anything but winning. He's one of those rare guys that you get," Siddle told UNCW play-by-play man Mike Vaccaro on Monday. "Those guys really care about it, and that's why you're seeing him be so consistent right now.

Limiting turnovers

UNCW coach Takayo Siddle
UNCW coach Takayo Siddle

UNCW has won its last two games, most recently squeaking by Monmouth 52-49. The Seahawks allowed 17 points off 17 turnovers, and Siddle says constant work in practice should help limit simple mistakes.

In the past five games, UNCW has 66 total turnovers and will also be without two wing players in Noah Ross and Jamahri Harvey due to leg injuries.

"As of late, we've been turning it over way too much. Just unforced errors. Just emphasizing it in practice. We're getting great reps in and taking care of the basketball under high pressure every day," Siddle said.

Conquering the road

If UNCW wants to finish the year strong, it will have to do so away from Trask Coliseum. While wining at home has been a big part of UNCW's success, the team will close out the season playing four of its final seven games on the road, including a much-anticipated rematch with CAA rival Charleston on Wednesday, Feb. 8.

Siddle has made it clear that winning on the road is a necessity, something he believes his team has excelled at this season. The Seahawks have won six of their past seven road games and are 4-1 in CAA road gamese.

"You can't call yourself a good team or even think about competing for a championship if you can't win on the road," Siddle said. "We've been able to have some really good success on the road and it shows a lot of mental toughness."

After Thursday, the Seahawks travel to Virginia to play at William & Mary on Saturday. The last time the teams met on Jan. 14, the Tribe edged out a 69-67 win that featured 59 total fouls called.

This article originally appeared on Wilmington StarNews: UNCW basketball seeks rebound to best form in final month of CAA play