GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG men’s basketball team held the nation’s 11th ranked offense to a season-low 58 points as the Spartans improved to 4-1 in Southern Conference play with a 72-58 victory over The Citadel Thursday night at the Greensboro Coliseum. The Spartans continue their three-game home stretch Saturday evening when they host preseason SoCon favorite Mercer at 5 p.m. UNCG is now 9-1 at home this season and 33-9 over the last 42 games in Greensboro.
The game pitted the SoCon’s top scoring offense in The Citadel(87.4 points per game) against the league’s top scoring defense with UNCG holding opponents to 61.8 points per game. The Spartans’ defense held the Bulldogs to just 58 points with the 58-point output is the lowest The Citadel has scored since February 20, 2016.
The Spartans (13-5, 4-1 SoCon) held the Bulldogs to only 38.9 percent (21-of-54) shooting from the field and just 24.1 percent (7-of-29) from 3-point land. UNCG also dominated the glass, out-rebounding The Citadel 44-33, including 15 offensive rebounds.
Seven different Spartans scored at least five points in the win and four different players scored in double figures. The depth of the Spartans shined through as UNCG out-scored The Citadel 27-9 in points off the bench. Senior forward Marvin Smith (Richmond, Va./Fork Union Military Academy) led the way with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds, while also adding four steals.
Freshman guard Isaiah Miller (Covington, Ga./Newton) added 13 points and five rebounds, four on the offensive glass, in 16 minutes of play off the bench. Junior guard Demetrius Troy (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God) added 12 points and eight assists, as he was 4-of-5 from 3-point land. Sophomore forward James Dickey (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God) rounded out the double figure scorers with 10 points and eight rebounds, connecting on 4-of-5 from the field and 2-of-2 from the free throw line. Dickey also recorded three blocked shots in the victory.
Zane Najdawi led The Citadel with 25 points as he scored the first 13 points of the game for the Bulldogs. He finished 10-of-16 from the field in 31 minutes of action. Matt Frierson added 17 points on 4-of-11 shooting from deep but The Citadel didn’t have another player score over six points in the loss.
The Spartans came out of the gate and opened to a 7-2 early lead as Dickey scored the first four of the game and Troy hit an early 3-pointer. The Spartans extended their lead to 20-9 with 11:36 remaining, scoring 10-straight points. Junior guard Francis Alonso (Malaga, Spain/Cushing Academy) started the 10-0 run with a 3-pointer while Miller came off the bench and scored five-straight points.
The Citadel pulled within 30-23 before the Spartans again scored 10-straight to take a 40-23 lead. Senior forward Garrett Collins (Asheville, N.C./Fishburne Military Academy) came off the bench and scored five points while Smith hit a 3-pointer extending the lead to 17. The Bulldogs closed the half on a 7-1 run to narrow the UNCG lead to 41-30 at the break s Frierson scored five in the spurt.
UNCG broke open the game with a 14-3 run to take a 62-40 lead with 10:07 remaining in the game. Miller scored four in the run while Smith hit a 3-pointer before sophomore guard Malik Massey (Charlotte, N.C./New Hampton Prep) came off the bench scoring five-straight. The Bulldogs hung around down the stretch but never got closer than 11 points in the final minute before senior forward Jordy Kuiper (Groningen, Netherlands/Canaries Basketball Academy) sealed the final margin with a 3-pointer with 15-seconds remaining as the shot clock was winding down.
-- UNCG --