Menís Basketball Pulls Away For Big Win Over North Dakota State
HIGH POINT, N.C. – The UNCG men’s basketball team forced 20 turnovers on Saturday night as the Spartans rebounded in game two of the HPU Classic to knock off North Dakota State 65-54 at the Millis Center in High Point. The victory improves the Spartans to 2-2 on the season and gives the Bison its first loss of the season at 3-1. The Spartans will close out the HPU Classic Sunday afternoon with a 3:30 p.m. contest against Navy.
“That was definitely a better performance tonight,” head coach Wes Miller said. “North Dakota State is not just a good team, they are a great team. They have been to three out of the last four NCAA Tournaments and that is one of the better non-conference wins we have had in a long time. Our effort was there tonight and we were selling out for our teammates. Marvin Smith – what a performance by him tonight. He seemed to get every loose ball tonight and his play was a catalyst for our team.”
The Spartans defense turned the 20 Bison turnovers into 16 points as they used a pressing defense to speed up the Bison. The defense allowed UNCG to take 15 more shots from the field than North Dakota State and helped the Spartans out-score the Bison 24-16 in the paint.
Sophomore guard Francis Alonso (Malaga, Spain/Cushing Academy) led three Spartans in double figures with 16 points as he was 4-of-9 from 3-point land. Senior guard Diante Baldwin (Greensboro, N.C./High Point Christian) finished the night with 14 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals in 30 minutes of action. Junior Marvin Smith (Richmond, Va./Fork Union Military Academy) rounded out the double figure scorers with 12 points and seven rebounds as he was active all night diving all over the court.
The Spartans finished the game shooting 41.8 percent (23-of-55) from the field and 40.9 percent (9-of-22) from 3-point land in the victory. UNCG also connected on 76.9 percent (10-of-13) from the free throw line, including 8-of-11 in the second half.
North Dakota State connected on 50 percent (20-of-40) from the field and 50 percent (9-of-18) from 3-point land in the loss but the turnovers were the culprit for NDSU. A.J. Jacobson led the Bison with 18 points on a perfect 6-of-6 shooting from deep while Dupree added 11 points and Miller 10 points.
The teams came out of the gate traded 3-point baskets as the Spartans hit their first three from distance as junior Jordy Kuiper (Groningen, Netherlands/Canaries Basketball Academy) hit his first and Alonso hit his first two points as UNCG held an early 9-7 lead.
North Dakota State took a 18-14 lead with 11:25 remaining as the Bison hit its first 7-of-10 from the field, including 4-of-5 from distance. Paul Miller had eight points early while Carlin Dupree had seven points to spark the Bison. NDSU took a 29-26 lead with 6:50 remaining when Deng Geu scored in the paint.
The Spartans started to turn up the pressure on defense and closed the first half on a 13-0 run to take a 39-29 lead into the locker room, holding NDSU without a point the last 6:50 of the half. Kuiper started the run by scoring four points while Smith scored five straight, including a 3-pointer form the corner.
The Spartans connected on 50 percent (15-of-30) from the field and 50 percent (7-of-14) from distance in the first half. UNCG forced the Bison into 10 first half turnovers, turning those miscues into 10 points. Kuiper and Alonso led the way with nine points each while Baldwin had six points and five rebounds.
NDSU connected on 60 percent (12-of-20) from the field and 55.6 percent (5-of-9) from 3-point land in the half. The difference in the half was the 10 turnovers by the Bison as well as UNCG attempting 10 more shots from the field than the NDSU. Miller led all scorers with 10 points while Dupree chipped in seven points.
The Spartans held a 49-37 lead early in the second half but North Dakota State posted an 8-0 run to narrow the gap to 49-45 with 13:24 remaining. Dylan Miller came off the bench for the Bison and scored five straight points and Jacobson nailed another 3-pointer to force the Spartans into a timeout.
UNCG showed its toughness as the Spartans responded with a 9-2 run to take a 58-47 lead and take the lead comfortably back to double figures. Baldwin started the run by scoring off a drive and senior center R.J. White (Frisco, Texas/Frisco) finally found some space and scored four straight points to take the lead back to 11 points at 58-47. The Spartans closed out the victory by hitting free throws down the stretch.
Kuiper finished with nine points on 4-of-4 shooting from the field in 27 minutes of action. White added four points and five rebounds in 24 minutes of action but his four points came in the game-deciding run in the second half. UNCG out-rebounded the Bison by a 29-27 margin, including a 9-2 edge on the offensive glass.
-- UNCG --