CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – In a game full of highs and lows, the UNCG men’s basketball team suffered just its second Southern Conference loss of the year as the Spartans fell in double overtime 87-85 to Chattanooga Monday night at McKenzie Arena. The loss snaps the Spartans’ five-game winning streak as they fall to 16-6 on the year and 7-2 in league play.
UNCG was plagued by foul trouble all night as the Spartans were called for 28 fouls compared to only 14 for Chattanooga. The Spartans had five players foul out of the game, including four post players and four starters. Chattanooga went to the free throw line 38 times, converting 76.3 percent, compared to just 18 attempts for UNCG, hitting at 77.8 percent.
The Spartans trailed 62-56 with 1:39 remaining in regulation before closing the second half on a 7-1 run to force overtime. Sophomore forward James Dickey (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God) pulled the Spartans within four with pair of free throws before freshman guard Isaiah Miller (Covington, Ga./Newton) converted a 3-point play off an offensive rebound to pull within one at 62-61 with 17.6 seconds remaining. Rodney Chatman hit one free throw to make it a two-point game before senior forward Marvin Smith (Richmond, Va./Fork Union Military Academy) hit two free throws with 6.1 seconds left, tying the gam at 63-63.
The Spartans came out in the first overtime and scored the first eight points, taking a 71-63 lead. Junior guard Francis Alonso (Malaga, Spain/Cushing Academy) scored the first five of the extra period before Smith nailed a 3-poijter for the eight-point lead. The Mocs kept battling and pulled within three at 71-68 on a pair of free throws from Joshua Phillips. Smith and junior guard Demetrius Troy (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God) scored on consecutive possessions to push the Spartans lead to 75-68 with 35.6 seconds remaining.
Chattanooga got two free throws from Nat Dixon and Smith missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity. Chatman hit two more free throws to make it a 75-72 lead with 18.5 seconds left. The Spartans got the ball in-bounds in the corner, but turned it over and Chatman hit a 3-pointer falling out of bounds, banked off the backboard, tying the game with 12.8 seconds remaining. The Spartans’ potential go-ahead shot from Smith in the final seconds was just off the mark sending the game into second overtime.
The second overtime was back-and-forth with Chattanooga taking an 84-82 lead with 2:10 remaining. Miller and Phillips traded free throws before Miller tied the game at 85-85 with 49.8 seconds remaining. The Spartans forced a turnover and had a chance for the lead, but senior Garrett Collins (Asheville, N.C./Fishburne Military Academy) saw his 3-pointer roll around the rim and out.
Chattanooga had the ball and drove into the lane where Alonso appeared to draw a charge, but a block was called fouling him out of the game. Chatman hit both free throws with 4.1 seconds remaining for the 87-85 lead. Miller had one final chance for the Spartans as his shot in the closing seconds rimmed out. He was able to get the offensive rebound and put back, but his shot came after time expired sending the Mocs to victory.
UNCG finished the game shooting 40.8 percent (31-of-76) from the field, but hit just 23.7 percent (9-of-38) from 3-point land. Chattanooga finished the game shooting 24-of-56 (42.9%) shooting from the field and 47.6 percent (10-of-21) from 3-point land.
Alonso led four Spartans in double figures with 20 points before fouling out as he hit just 4-of-16 from deep. Miller added 17 points off the bench, connecting on 7-of-12 from the field and 3-of-5 from the free throw line. Smith added 14 points and eight rebounds before fouling out.
Sophomore forward Kyrin Galloway (Milton, Ga./Milton) scored a career-high 14 points off the bench before also fouling out. Galloway was 6-of-6 from the field, including a pair of 3-pointers. Dickey added eight points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots before fouling out after 25 minutes.
Nat Dixon led the Mocs with 30 points and eight rebounds in 47 minutes of play. Dixon connected on 9-of-16 from the field and was a perfect 9-of-9 from the free throw line. Chatman added 22 points and nine rebounds, hitting 9-of-11 from the charity stripe. Phillips posted a double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds, heading to the free throw line 10 times.
The Spartans return home to the Greensboro Coliseum Thursday night as they host VMI. Game time is set for 7 p.m.
-- UNCG --