WASHINGTON -- It was posted everywhere. The meeting room, the locker room, you name it.
Pieces of paper that read, simply, "70-46."
That was the score of Hofstra's win over UNC Wilmington in mid-January. UNCW coach Takayo Siddle made sure his players hadn't forgotten.
"In that game, I told them earlier, we only competed for about 20 to 25 minutes," Siddle said. "We wanted to emphasize -- before we even talked about personnel -- last night, we wanted to show them how they tried to punk us, how they did punk us."
This time, the Seahawks gave Siddle every bit of toughness and resilience he could ask for, emerging with a 79-73 overtime win over the top-seeded Pride in a Colonial Athletic Association Tournament semifinal on Monday.
"Throughout the whole game, even going into overtime, we never wavered -- not one time," Siddle said Monday night. "We had that look in our eyes, we had that next play mentality. I'm very proud of our group."
Unlike in January, when Hofstra dominated the second half 40-16, UNCW refused to go away. Hofstra led by as much as 12 in the first half, but UNCW trailed by just one at halftime and began the second half on an 11-3 run to take a seven-point lead. When two-time CAA Player of the Year Aaron Estrada capped a 13-4 Hofstra run with a 3-pointer that gave the Pride the lead with 10:22 left in regulation, UNCW again could have folded.
Instead, it was the last time Hofstra led.
The race to the end of regulation turned into a slog. Donovan Newby's 3-pointer broke a tie with 2:33 left, but the Seahawks didn't score again in regulation. Tyler Thomas knocked down three free throws to force overtime.
The Seahawks' defense finished things off. Hofstra managed just Estrada's two free throws in overtime; the Pride missed their final 11 shots of the game, stretching nearly 10 minutes.
One miss stands out. After Farrar made it a 3-point game with 30 second left in overtime, Jaquan Carlos got a wide-open look for three -- seemingly UNCW's only defensive breakdown of the extra session. The Seahawks escaped by millimeters.
"I was a little worried because he shot it and it went in -- like, literally went in -- and it just came out," said Trazarien White, who scored a team-high 21 points but could only watch the shot from the bench after fouling out. "It was just like an, 'All right, if he would have made that, we're gonna come down and score.' It wasn't too much of a worry."
No game comes down to a single play, and the little winning plays were what kept UNCW in the game and ultimately allowed it to win. The Seahawks out-rebounded the Pride by 12, won the second-chance points battle 15-5 and won the points off turnovers battle 15-10.
"They were the tougher, more physical team, and most of the time in college basketball, the tougher team wins," Hofstra coach Speedy Claxton said.
Siddle said his players' first order of business would be getting off their feet after the grueling contest... and then preparing for another one.
In the nightcap Monday, College of Charleston beat Towson 77-72 in a hotly contested affair. It looked as if the Cougars -- now 30-3 this season and CAA co-regular season champions -- would run away with things midway through the second half. Propelled by 13 consecutive points from Reyne Smith, the Cougars opened up a 60-47 with just over 11 minutes to play.
"A message that kind of stuck with me at halftime was coach was talking about, 'Just have fun, don't worry about your shots, miss or make, just have a smile on your face and trust the body of work,'" Smith said. "I kind of just changed my mindset and just relaxed and just really enjoyed having fun out there. I think that's kind of where you get a little unconscious."
Smith and the Cougars were quickly snapped back to reality. Towson crept closer and closer and took its first lead since early in the second half after a Nicolas Timberlake layup with 2:13 to go made it 69-67. That was Towson's final bucket of the game.
In a game between two of the league's three most efficient offenses, it was a defensive play that saved the day for the Cougars. After Charleston grabbed a 71-70 lead, Towson got three looks for the lead. The final one belonged to Timberlake, whose 12 second-half points keyed the comeback attempt. But Jaylon Scott's outstretched right hand blocked Timberlake's 3-pointer, and Towson never got closer.
"He's just the ultimate glue guy," said Charleston coach Pat Kelsey. "He's a winner, man. He doesn't care about stats, doesn't care about scoring. ... If you made me say who's our MVP, it's that kid."
Charleston won despite shooting a season-low 34.4% from the field.
"In a game where we didn't have our best offense, didn't shoot at a great percentage -- and that's a credit to Towson for the defensive job they did -- we found a way," Kelsey said. "We found a way, and I think that's what really good teams do."
Charleston swept UNCW this season, with a 71-69 nail-biter in January and a 93-61 laugher in February. Charleston had the CAA's most efficient offense and second-most efficient defense in conference play and is a significant favorite. But being underdogs didn't faze UNCW Monday and certainly won't Tuesday with an NCAA Tournament berth on the line.
"Like we talked about before we took off to come up here, the job's not finished," Siddle said. "There's a lot of work to do. We didn't come up here to win one, two games. We came here to compete and win a championship."
Charleston, despite the 30-3 record, has to win to go dancing. The Cougars are nowhere to be found on Jerry Palm's Bracketology bubble. Smith certainly will be ready.
"March Madness is the reason why I wanted to come over here and play college basketball since I was like 14 years old," he said. "To have the opportunity to do that is gonna be really special."
CAA Tournament Final
Date: March 7, 2023 | Time: 7 p.m. ET
Location: Entertainment & Sports Arena -- Washington, DC
TV: CBS Sports Network (Channel finder) | Streaming: CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App