GREENSBORO, N.C. – For the third time this season, UNC Greensboro men’s basketball has compiled a winning streak of at least five games, as the Spartans on Saturday knocked off Mercer by a final of 88-81 at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Since losing to Wofford on Jan. 10, UNCG has won its last five games. Additionally, the Spartans are now 8-1 in Southern Conference play at the midway point. At 19-3 overall, UNCG has its most wins in a single season through 22 games.
The Spartans outscored the Bears 45-33 in the first half, with UNCG limiting Mercer to just 7-of-23 (30 percent) from the field including a seven-plus minute stretch without a made basket in the run of play. Despite the Spartans’ success in limiting the Bears’ offense, Mercer found a way to stay afloat in the first half by going 17-of-18 from the free-throw line.
Still, UNCG took a 12-point lead into the halftime break as six different Spartans had at least four points, led by sophomore guard Isaiah Miller and his 12 points. Miller made two three pointers in the first half as did freshman forward Angelo Allegri.
While sharpshooting senior guard Francis Alonso had just four points in the first half, he dished out five assists. He finished the game with seven assists for the fourth time in his career.
The Bears, however, wouldn’t make it easy on the Spartans late in the second half, as an 8-0 run over a 1:44 span put Mercer within 10 points, 81-71, with 3:25 remaining in the contest before UNCG was able to pull out a seven-point victory.
Miller finished with a game-high 22 points while Alonso and senior guard Demetrius Troy also reached double digits in scoring.
The Spartans will play their third straight home game on Thursday night when UNCG hosts VMI at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
News And Notes
--The Spartans have now won five straight games dating back to a 10-point victory over Furman on Jan. 12. This is the third time this season that UNCG has won at least five consecutive contests. The Spartans won six straight from Nov. 13-27 and seven straight from Dec. 7-Jan. 5.
--The victory was UNCG’s 10th at home this season and 20th victory on home court in the team’s last 21 outings.
--This is the 10th time in program history that the Spartans have reached 19 wins in a single season.
--With the victory, UNCG has narrowed its deficit in the all-time series with Mercer to 7-5.
--Entering Saturday’s slate of action, only four teams in the country had won 19 games: Gonzaga, Houston, Michigan and Nevada. All four of those teams are ranked in the AP Top 25.
--Alonso reached double figures in scoring for the 21th times this season, as the senior guard scored 14 points. It’s the 94th time in his career that he’s scored at least 10 points in a game.
--Alonso also started his 117th career game. Only Kyle Hines and Jay Joseph started more games for the program, each at 118.
--Alonso also appeared in his 127th career game, joining Drew Parker for the third-most games played in program history.
--Alonso recorded a career-high two blocks.
--Alonso also tied his career-high for assists with seven. He had dished out seven assists in a game three different times before tonight’s game.
--Miller had his fourth 20-point game during conference play with 22 points. The sophomore had never reached 20 points before the Spartans started conference play against Samford on Dec. 22.
--Junior forward James Dickey had a career-high four steals.
--The Spartans used the same starting lineup for a fifth-straight game, all victories.
-- UNCG –