Menís Basketball Wins Sixth Straight With 81-72 Victory Over The Citadel
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG men’s basketball team ran its winning streak to six-straight games Saturday evening as the Spartans completed the season series sweep of The Citadel with an 81-72 victory at the Greensboro Coliseum. The six-game winning streak marks the second time this season that UNCG has won six in a row. This is the first time in program history at the NCAA Division I level that UNCG has tallied two winning streaks of at least six games each in a single season.
The Spartans’ 16-5 overall record is the second-best start in program history and surpasses last season’s win total (15-19) in just 21 games this year. UNCG’s 16 wins also ranks seventh most in a single season for the Spartans in the NCAA Division I era. The victory improves the Spartans to 7-1 in Southern Conference play and keeps UNCG alone in first place. The 7-1 start is the Spartans’ best ever start in SoCon play.
Senior guard Diante Baldwin (Greensboro, N.C./High Point Christian) scored 19 points to lead the Spartans to victory, while handing out eight assists in 36 minutes of action. Baldwin was 6-of-14 from the field ad 6-of-8 from the free throw line. Sophomore guard Demetrius Troy (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God) scored 13 points and dished out five assists off the bench.
The Spartans dominated play on the glass, out-rebounding The Citadel by a 51-24 margin, including 21 on the offensive end. Junior forward Jordy Kuiper (Groningen, Netherlands/Canaries Basketball Academy) led the way with 12 rebounds, five offensive, to go along with eight points. Senior center R.J. White (Frisco, Texas/Frisco) added 12 points and seven rebounds while junior forward Marvin Smith (Richmond, Va./Fork Union Military Academy) added 10 points and nine rebounds.
UNCG finished the game shooting 41.5 percent (27-of-65) from the field and hit just 25.9 percent (7-of-27) from 3-point land. The Spartans got to the free throw line 28 times, connecting on 71.4 percent. The Citadel finished the night shooting just 38.6 percent (22-of-57) from the field and 31.3 percent (10-of-32) from distance. The Bulldogs entered the game leading NCAA Division I in scoring but their 72 points marks the fourth lowest of the season. Preston Parks led The Citadel with 26 points while Zane Najdawi chipped in 16 points on 10-of-10 shooting from the free throw line.
The Spartans started on an 8-1 run as they scored in the paint against The Citadel zone early. White and Kuiper each scored early to set the tone for the Spartans. The Citadel responded with a 13-6 run to tie the game at 14-14 as the Spartans started to struggle offensively to get shots to fall. The game would slog back-and-forth with Matt Frierson hitting a 3-pointer to give the Bulldogs a 26-23 lead with 2:40 remaining.
The Spartans closed the first half on a 9-3 run to take a 32-29 lead into the locker room. Junior Garrett Collins (Asheville, N.C./Fishburne Military Academy) hit a 3-pointer before freshman forward Kyrin Galloway (Milton, Ga./Milton) had his second dunk of the game to give the Spartans the lead. Baldwin scored at the buzzer as he drove the length of the floor to give the Spartans a 32-29 lead at the half.
The Citadel came out of the break and posted a 15-6 run to take 44-38 lead with 16:11 remaining. Parks scored six points during the run, converting an old-fashioned 3-point pay and hitting one from deep. Najdawi added four points during the spurt in the paint.
The Spartans played from behind for most of the second half before notching a 13-2 run to take a 67-61 lead with 7:08 remaining, a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Baldwin was the catalyst, scoring five points during the run, including a big 3-pointer. Smith added an old-fashioned 3-point play on a fast break to give the Spartans back the lead for good.
UNCG would maintain the lead down the stretch, getting timely 3-pointers from Troy and Smith to preserve the 3-possession advantage. The Citadel would trim the deficit to four at 76-72 with 1:44 remaining but the Spartans’ work on the offensive glass negated any chance for the Bulldogs as UNCG got back-to-back rebounds to extend their possession. The Spartans hit five out of their last six from the line to ice the victory.
The Spartans hit the road Wednesday night when they travel to Spartanburg, S.C., for a meeting with Wofford. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Benjamin Johnson Arena. The Spartans will bring their six-game winning streak into the game and put their three-game road winning streak on the line.
-- UNCG --