Menís Basketball Overpowers Belmont Abbey, 90-54
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG men’s basketball team won its third straight game Friday afternoon as the Spartans downed NCAA Division II team Belmont Abbey 90-54 at the Greensboro Coliseum in the final game of the HPU Classic. The Spartans return to action Tuesday night when they host crosstown rival North Carolina A&T in the Battle of the Boro held at the Greensboro Coliseum at 7 p.m.
The Spartans improved to 4-2 on the season, marking their best start since the 2004-05 season through six games. UNCG out-scored Belmont Abbey 52-12 in the paint, 25-11 off of turnovers and 25-7 on second-chance points in the dominating performance. The Spartans connected on 50.7 percent (37-of-73) from the field and out-rebounded the Crusaders by a 44-22 margin, including 19 offensive rebounds.
“I didn’t like the way we came out but I thought Diante Baldwin got us going with his effort and the team responded to him,” head coach Wes Miller said. “We were able to force some turnovers, get some stops and then the ball started to fall for us late in the first half. We were significantly better to start the second half and I was pleased with how we came out of the gate to put the game away early in the second half. It was nice to be able to sit some guys who have been playing heavy minutes in the second half and get some of our other guys who have been putting in the work in practice, big minutes today.”
The Spartans dished out 27 assists on their 37 made field goals with sophomore guard Demetrius Troy (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God) leading the way with a career-high eight assists. UNCG forced Belmont Abbey into 21 turnovers as it recorded 15 steals, including three each from senior Diante Baldwin (Greensboro, N.C./High Point Christian) and Troy.
All 12 Spartans that played scored in the victory, including six players with at least eight points. Sophomore guard Francis Alonso (Malaga, Spain/Cushing Academy) led all scorers with 17 points in 20 minutes of action, as he was 5-of-7 from 3-point land. Junior forward Jordy Kuiper (Groningen, Netherlands/Canaries Basketball Academy) and junior Marvin Smith (Richmond, Va./Fork Union Military Academy) each added 11 points in less than 15 minutes of action.
Baldwin finished the night with 10 points in 19 minutes of play, as he was 5-of-9 from the field. Senior center R.J. White (Frisco, Texas/Frisco) chipped in eight points and seven rebounds in 15 minutes of play while redshirt freshman James Dickey (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God) added eight points and seven rebounds off the bench.
Belmont Abbey finished the day shooting just 32.6 percent (15-of-46) from the field and just 26.1 percent (6-of-23) from distance. Jacob Wilson was the lone Crusader in double figures with 11 points while Daniel Spencer added eight points in the loss.
The first half saw the teams start off slowly with the Spartans holding a 17-12 lead after a 3-pointer by Gunnar Hardarson. The Spartans answered with five straight, capped by a Troy 3-pointer to take a 10-point lead. The Crusaders kept it within striking distance as 30-21 with 6:31 remaining in the first half but the Spartans closed the half on a 14-4 run to take a 44-24 lead into the locker room.
Alonso hit for two 3-pointers during the run, one at the beginning and one at the end to close out the half. Dickey added four points on back-to-back baskets as the Spartans controlled play in the paint.
The second half saw the Spartans figure out the Belmont Abbey zone defense and start to exploit holes as they took a 51-31 contest and ballooned it to a 46-point edge with a 34-8 run over a span of 11 minutes. The run saw the Spartans record four dunks during the sequence, including three straight from Baldwin (2) and White. Smith added five points during the stretch before the Spartans’ freshmen class got into the act.
Freshman forward Kyrin Galloway (Milton, Ga./Milton) scored four points during the run to finish the game with a career-high six points and seven rebounds. Classmate Malik Massey (Charlotte, N.C./New Hampton Prep) added four points during the stretch while redshirt freshman Taqqi Muhammad (Richmond, Va./John Marshall) scored on an offensive put-back for his first collegiate basket.
-- UNCG --