Menís Basketball Hosts Samford In New Yearís Eve Matinee
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG men’s basketball team opens the home portion of the Southern Conference schedule Saturday afternoon as the Spartans welcome in Samford. Game time is set for 2 p.m. on New Year’s Eve at the Greensboro Coliseum. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3 and the ESPN App with Scott Pryzwansky and Darryl Kosciak on the call. Additionally, the game will be radio streamed on the TuneIn App and online at www.uncgspartans.com/radio with Parker Southern on the call.
The game pits two of the hottest teams in the SoCon against each other. UNCG enters the game having won nine out of its last 11 games, including its SoCon opener at The Citadel Wednesday night. Samford has won six out of its last seven games entering Saturday, including two straight with its lone loss during that stretch coming against nationally ranked Florida State on the road.
Saturday’s game marks the 19th meeting all-time between UNCG and Samford. The two teams are tied 9-9 all-time heading into the game, but the Spartans have won four in a row in the series, including sweeping the series last year. UNCG posted an 86-78 victory at home at the Greensboro Coliseum in the first meeting before the Spartans took home an 82-77 overtime win in Birmingham. UNCG connected on 44.4 percent (52-of-117) from the field, 38.6 percent (17-of-44) from 3-point land and 74.6 percent (47-of-63) from the free throw line in the two games against the Bulldogs.
Sophomore guard Francis Alonso (Malaga, Spain/Cushing Academy) averaged 15.5 points per game last year, hitting 41.7 percent (5-of-12) from the field and 90.9 percent (10-of-11) from the free throw line. Former Spartan Kayel Locke averaged 15.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Senior guard Diante Baldwin (Greensboro, N.C./High Point Christian) averaged 14.5 points and 5.0 rebounds per game, as he was 76.5 percent (13-of-17) from the free throw line. Junior Marvin Smith (Richmond, Va./Fork Union Military Academy) added 13.0 points per game, while senior R.J. White (Frisco, Texas/Frisco) chipped in 12.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in the two victories.
Samford connected on 40.4 (46-of-114) from the field, 25.5 (12-of-47) from 3-point land and 77.3 percent (51-of-66) from the free throw line in the two games. Wyatt Walker averaged 17.0 points and 5.5 rebounds per game against the Spartans, connecting on 60 percent (12-of-20) from the field and 71.4 percent (10-of-14) from the free throw line. Christen Cunningham averaged 13.5 points and 4.5 assists per game last year, connecting on 14-of-15 (93.3%) from the free throw line.
The Spartans enter Saturday’s game with a 10-4 overall record and a 1-0 mark in Southern Conference play. UNCG has won nine out of its last 11 games, including a 6-2 home record this year. The Spartans are shooting 46.2 percent (389-of-842) from the field this season while holding opponents to 42.0 percent (312-of-743) from the field. UNCG has connected on 40.7 percent (136-of-334) from 3-point land and opponents are hitting 35.5 percent (100-of-282) from deep. The Spartans are out-rebounding opponents by a 37.1-31.1 margin this season.
UNCG is one of three teams in the SoCon with at least four players averaging double figures. Baldwin leads the team in scoring at 12.6 points per game. He also leads the team with 61 assists, 32 steals and is shooting 80 percent (32-of-40) from the free throw line. Alonso is second on the team in scoring at 12.0 points per game. He leads the team with 38 made 3-pointers, hitting at 45.2 percent from deep. Smith is third on the team in scoring at 11.4 points per game and third on the glass at 4.9 rebounds per game. He is shooting 34.7 percent (26-of-75) from 3-point land this year and 70 percent (21-of-30) from the free throw line.
White rounds out the Spartans in double figure scoring at 10.6 points per game and is second on the team with 6.1 rebounds per game. He is shooting 57 percent (61-of-107) from the field. Sophomore guard Demetrius Troy (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God) is fifth on the team in scoring at 8.8 points per game and third on the team with 25 made 3-pointers. Redshirt freshman forward James Dickey (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God) leads the team on the glass grabbing 6.7 rebounds per game off the bench.
Samford enters Saturday’s game with a 9-4 overall record and a 4-3 mark on the road this year. Saturday will mark its Southern Conference opener. The Bulldogs have picked up wins this year over San Diego, Campbell, Bethune-Cookman, Saint Louis, Jacksonville State, Miles College, South Alabama, Florida A&M and Fort Valley State. Samford’s four losses have come against New Mexico State, Cincinnati, Nichols State and Florida State. Samford is averaging 78.2 points per game while holding opponents to 71.0 points per game. The Bulldogs are shooting 45.9 percent (346-of-753) from the field and 39.8 percent (107-of-269) from 3-point land.
Demetrius Denzel-Dyson, a transfer from UMASS, leads the team in scoring at 13.6 points per game. Denzel-Dyson is shooting 50.4 percent (60-fo-119) from the field and has hit 30 3-pointers at a 51.7 percent clip. Wyatt Walker is second on the team in scoring at 12.5 points per game and leads the SoCon on the glass grabbing 10.5 rebounds per game. Walker is the only play in the league averaging a double-double. He is shooting 57.3 percent (59-of-103) from the field.
Alex Thompson, an Auburn transfer, is third on the team in scoring at 11.8 points per game. Thompson has hit 23 3-pointers this year. Christen Cunningham rounds out the double figure scorers at 10.8 points per game and leads the team with 83 assists. Triston Chambers leads the team with 32 made 3-pointers, hitting at 44.4 percent.
-- UNCG --