Sophomore Francis Alonso scored 14 points in the loss for the Spartans to nationally ranked Virginia.
Sophomore Francis Alonso scored 14 points in the loss for the Spartans to nationally ranked Virginia.
Courtesy: Photo Courtesy of Carlos Morales

Menís Basketball Drops Season Opener To No. 7 Virginia, 76-51

UNCGSpartans.com 11-11-2016

GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG men’s basketball team opened the 2016-17 season by hosting seventh-ranked Virginia Friday night at the Greensboro Coliseum and the Spartans suffered a 76-51 contest to the Cavaliers in front of 5,513 fans. The Spartans return to action Monday night when they host Presbyterian College for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off.

The Spartans were limited to just 37 percent (17-of-46) shooting from the field and only 33.3 percent (7-of-21) from 3-point land against one of the toughest defenses in all of college basketball. The Cavaliers conversely connected on 52 percent (26-of-50) from the field and hit 50 percent (8-of-16) from long range in the victory.

“Virginia is one of the best defenses in the country,” head coach Wes Miller said. “They are probably the best defense I have ever faced on the basketball floor. I thought we did some good things and executed tonight but even then, Virginia was there with active hands, communicating as a team. Our guys are disappointed because we know we are going to be a good team, but tonight we got to see what a top-10 program is like and we can only learn from those lessons going forward.”

Sophomore guard Francis Alonso (Malaga, Spain/Cushing Academy) led the Spartans with 14 points, including 6-of-6 from the free throw line. Junior forward Marvin Smith (Richmond, Va./Fork Union Military Academy) added 10 points on 4-of-78 shooting while classmate Jordy Kuiper (Groningen, Netherlands/Canaries Basketball Academy) and senior center R.J. White (Frisco, Texas/Frisco) each chipped in seven points in the loss.

Virginia had four players in double figures and seven players scored at least seven points in the victory. Marial Shayok led the Cavaliers with 15 points off the bench while London Perrantes and Isaiah Wilkins each tallied 10 points for the Atlantic Coast Conference foe.

The Cavaliers jumped out to an early 13-4 lead as they hit their first three 3-pointes of the night. The Spartans settled in and posted an 11-2 run to pull within two points at 17-15 with 12:35 remaining in the half. UNCG got 3-pointers in the run from Kuiper, White and senior guard Diante Baldwin (Greensboro, N.C./High Point Christian) to make it a one possession game.

Virginia answered right back closing the half on a 25-2 run to take a 42-17 lead into the locker room. The Cavaliers hit 6-of-10 from distance in the opening 20 minutes as eight different players scored.

The Cavaliers extended their lead to 31-points in the second half at 56-25 before the Spartans posted an 11-4 run to narrow the gap to 60-36 with 9:34 remaining. Alonso started the spurt by converting three straight free throws before Smith scored five in a row for the Spartans.

-- UNCG --

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