Menís Basketball Notches Emphatic Win Over Crosstown Rival N.C. A&T, 86-66
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG men’s basketball team recorded its fourth straight win and improved to 5-2 on the season as the Spartans dominated play against crosstown rival North Carolina A&T 86-66 Tuesday night in the Battle of the Boro at the Greensboro Coliseum.
The Spartans led by as many as 33 points in the first half and are off to their best start to a season at 5-2 since opening the 2004-05 campaign with a 7-2 record. The victory snapped the Spartans’ four-game skid to the Aggies in the series history, marking UNCG’s first win over N.C. A&T since 2002.
“Tonight feels good,” head coach Wes Miller said. “We haven’t beaten N.C. A&T in a long time and it was good to see us want the game more this time. We came out of the gates with a lot of energy and really shot the ball well in the first half. We were really aggressive offensively and also made some plays on the ball in the first half. Defensively, we could have been a lot better tonight and those are things we can continue to work on in practice. We have a chance to be really good this year, but we have to continue to get better each and every day, whether in practice or in a game for that to happen.”
The Spartans dominating performance started from the opening tip as senior guard Diante Baldwin (Greensboro, N.C./High Point Christian) scored in the first seconds of the game and UNCG never looked back, opening to a 50-18 halftime lead and cruising to the victory. The Spartans finished the night shooting 44.9 percent (31-of-69) from the field and 41.9 percent (13-of-31) from distance, while also hitting 11-of-12 (91.7%) from the free throw line.
The dominating performance was no more evident than in the assist totals as UNCG dished out 23 assists on 31 field goals, while the Aggies only had eight assists on 25 field goals, including just two in the first half. The Spartans also forced N.C. A&T into 17 turnovers, scoring 20 points off those miscues.
Sophomore guard Francis Alonso (Malaga, Spain/Cushing Academy) paced four Spartans in double figures with a season-high 21 points while also dishing out seven assists without committing a turnover. Alonso connected on 8-of-12 from the field and hit 5-of-8 from the 3-point land. Baldwin continued his torrid start to the season with 20 points and five assists as he was 7-of-13 from the field, 3-of-5 from distance and 3-of-3 from the free throw line.
Senior center R.J. White (Frisco, Texas/Frisco) added a season-high 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 23 minutes. White connected on 7-of-13 from the field and was 5-of-6 six from the charity stripe. Sophomore guard Demetrius Troy (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God) rounded out the double figure scorers with 11 points and five assists off the bench, including three 3-pointers.
North Carolina A&T finished the night shooting 41.0 percent (25-of-61) from the field and 14.3 percent (2-of-14) from distance. The Aggies struggled from the free throw line hitting just 56 percent (14-of-25). Davaris McGowens led the Aggies with 19 points and 10 rebounds while Raymon Pratt added 15 points. N.C. A&T leading scorer Sam Hunt was held to seven second half points by the Spartans.
UNCG came out of the gate quickly, opening on a 24-4 run to blitz the Aggies in the first eight minutes of the game. Baldwin was the catalyst as he took the opening tip and scored a fast break basket on his way to scoring the Spartan’s first seven points of the game in less than three minutes. After a 3-pointer form Alonso, Troy started to heat up as he nailed three straight from distance off the bench to help the Spartans build a 20-point advantage.
N.C. A&T (1-5) slowed the Spartans a little and trailed 37-18 with 4:24 remaining in the first half. The Spartans out-scored the Aggies 13-0 down the stretch to take a 50-18 lead into the locker room. The 50 points scored in the first half was a season-best for UNCG while the 18 points held was a season-low for an opponent against the Spartans.
UNCG limited the Aggies to just 25.8 percent (8-of-31) shooting from the field in the opening 20 minutes, including an 0-of-6 mark from 3-point land. The Spartans conversely hit 47.2 percent (17-of-36) from the field and 52.9 percent (9-of-17) from long range in the first half. Alonso led the way with 16 first half points while Baldwin and Troy each added 11 points.
The second half started with the Aggies slowly chipping away at the UNCG lead before pulling within 20 at 65-45 with 7:37 remaining. The Spartans ended any doubt with a 19-6 run to take an 84-51 lead with just over four minutes remaining. Baldwin started the run with a 3-pointer before junior forward Jordy Kuiper (Groningen, Netherlands/Canaries Basketball Academy) converted an old-fashioned 3-point play. Baldwin again hit from distance and converted a 3-point play of his own as the Spartans’ defense forced the Aggies into miscues with their full court pressure.
The Spartans continued their six-game home stretch Saturday night as they host Liberty in non-conference action on campus at Fleming Gymnasium at 7 p.m.
-- UNCG --