SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The UNCG men’s basketball team picked up win number 22 on the season and completed the season series sweep of Southern Conference rival Wofford with a 76-66 victory on the road against the Terriers at Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium Tuesday night. The win marks the fourth-straight victory for UNCG in the series over Wofford and improves the Spartans to 22-7 on the season. The 22 wins are tied for third-most all-time in UNCG history, matching the 1986-87 team.
The win improves the Spartans to 13-3 in SoCon play, securing at least the No. 2 seed in the upcoming SoCon Tournament. The win coupled with ETSU’s loss at home to The Citadel keeps the Spartans alive for the SoCon regular season title, as UNCG is only one game behind the Bucs with two games remaining on the year. The Spartans close out the regular season with two home games beginning Friday night when they welcome in Chattanooga. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at the Greensboro Coliseum.
The Spartans won the game on both ends of the floor in the overall gutty performance. The Spartans’ defense held the Terriers 10 points under their season average with 66 points and out-rebounded Wofford by a 41-31 margin, including 15 on the offensive glass. UNCG finished the game shooting 46.8 percent (29-of-62) from the field and 40.7 percent (11-of-27) from distance.
Junior guard Francis Alonso (Malaga, Spain/Cushing Academy) led all scorers with 24 points in a battle of the league’s top two scorers along with Wofford’s Fletcher Magee. Alonso scored 16 of his points in the second half and finished the game shooting 8-of-15 from the field and 6-of-9 from 3-point land. The six 3-pointers gives him 100 made 3-pointers on the season, just two shy of his own single-season mark of 102 set last year as a sophomore.
Freshman guard Isaiah Miller (Covington, Ga./Newton) added 13 points and five rebounds off the bench, connecting on 6-of-11 from the field. Sophomore forward James Dickey (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God) posted his fifth double-double of the season and fourth in his last seven games with 10 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. The Spartans had seven players scored six or more points and their bench out-scored the Terriers’ bench by a 24-7 margin.
Wofford (19-10, 10-6 SoCon) finished the night shooting 41.1 percent (23-of-56) from the field and 34.8 percent (8-of-23) from 3-point land in the loss. Magee led the Terriers with 20 points but was 7-of-17 shooting from the field. Nathan Hoover added 16 points and Cameron Jackson chipped in 14 points in the loss.
The Terriers came out quickly against the Spartans, opening to a 10-4 lead early on as Hoover scored the first five points for Wofford. UNCG responded with 12-straight points on its way to a 16-2 run taking a 20-12 lead and forcing a Wofford timeout. The run started from the outside as junior guard Demetrius Troy (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God) hit back-to-back 3-pointers before Alonso and senior forward Garrett Collins (Asheville, N.C./Fishburne Military Academy) followed with two more from deep.
The Terriers battled back with a run of their own, posting a 14-4 spurt taking a 28-27 lead. Hoover again got going, nailing a 3-pointer on his way to 13 first half points. Jackson put the Terriers in front with his second basket in the run before Alonso came down and nailed a 3-pointer to retake the lead. Sophomore forward Kyrin Galloway (Milton, Ga./Milton) scored on a put-back at the buzzer to send the Spartans into the locker room with a 36-33 lead.
The teams went back-and-forth to start the second half with the game tying up at 50-50 on a 3-pointer by Tray Hollowell with 11:49 remaining. Miller gave the Spartans the lead back for good, scoring on consecutive possessions after the Spartans recorded two-straight steals with their pressure.
The Spartans would maintain the lead at 63-59 with 3:26 remaining as Magee scored on a fast break. UNCG was able to gain breathing room with an 8-2 run, taking a 71-61 lead with 2:02 remaining. Alonso was the catalyst, hitting back-to-back 3-pointers while Dickey capped the spurt with a dunk as the Spartans broke the Terriers’ pressure. The Spartans were able to ice the game at the free throw line and held strong defensively, forcing Wofford into contested deep 3-pointers in the final two minutes of the game.
Collins finished the game with nine points in 20 minutes as the Spartans played the game short-handed. He connected on 3-of-7 from deep in the game. Galloway added six points and six rebounds in his second start of the season while senior Marvin Smith (Richmond, Va./Fork Union Military Academy) shook off a tough shooting night to score six points, all in the final nine minutes of the game.
-- UNCG --