Men’s Basketball Clamps Down On Wofford & Picks Up 19th Win Of The Year
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG men’s basketball team put together one of its best overall performances and arguably its best defensive performance of the season as the Spartans handed Wofford its second-biggest loss of the season with a 74-55 victory over the Terriers Wednesday night at the Greensboro Coliseum. The game marked the first time in program history thtat UNCG has worn black uniforms.
The victory improves the Spartans to 19-8 overall on the year and 10-4 in SoCon play. The 19 victories rank fourth-most in program history and the most for UNCG since winning 19 games in the 2007-08 season. Additionally, the Spartans improve to 10-4 in league play, matching their win total from last season in SoCon action with four games remaining.
UNCG kept pace with the other top teams in the league as Furman (13-2), ETSU (11-3) and Chattanooga (10-4) all won Wednesday. Those victories set up an intriguing Saturday in SoCon play as the top four all face each other in crucial games in the league standings. The Spartans hit the road and face off against first-place Furman at 4 p.m. while second-place ETSU heads to Chattanooga.
The Spartans’ 19-point victory is the second-largest loss of the year for Wofford, trailing just a 22-point victory by LSU in the season opener. Additionally, the Spartans held the second-highest scoring team in SoCon play (83.4 points per game) to a season-low 55 points. UNCG held Wofford to a season-low 30.8 percent (16-of-52) shooting in the victory, with less than 10 field goals made in each half of play. UNCG dominated play in the paint, out-scoring the Terriers 36-14.
Senior guard Diante Baldwin (Greensboro, N.C./High Point Christian) led three Spartans in double figures in the victory with a game-high 24 points in 31 minutes. Baldwin connected on 8-of-12 from the field and hit 6-of-6 from the free throw line as he attacked the basket all night long. Junior forward Jordy Kuiper (Groningen, Netherlands/Canaries Basketball Academy) tied his career-high with 12 points in 16 minutes off the bench. Kuiper connected on 5-of-9 from the field, including a pair of 3-pointers.
Senior center R.J. White (Frisco, Texas/Frisco) continued his dominant play against the Terriers, scoring 14 points and grabbing five rebounds. White connected on 7-of-14 from the field, scoring 12 points in the first half. Freshman Malik Massey (Charlotte, N.C./New Hampton) added seven points off the bench in 21 minutes of play and helped the Spartans defensively hold Eric Garcia to just two points, including no field goals.
Wofford (13-15, 8-7 SoCon) was just 16-of-52 from the field in the loss and hit 7-of-22 (31.8%) from 3-point land. The Terriers were also off at the free throw line, hitting just 66.7 percent (16-of-24). Fletcher Magee was held to 12 points on 3-of-12 shooting while Nathan Hoover added 10 points.
The Spartans came out of the gate with energy on both ends of the floor as the opened to a 10-0 lead, holding Wofford without a field goal for the first 6:55 of the game. The Spartans got inside the paint against the Terriers, scoring on three big dunks on their first five field goals of the game. White got things going with a dunk on the first possession and scored again for the 10-point lead.
UNCG kept putting the Terriers under pressure, extending its lead to 23-8 with 8:42 remaining in the first half. White scored six points in the opening 11-plus minutes while Kuiper scored five points, including a 3-pointer to force Wofford into a timeout. After a 3-pointer by Massey, Kuiper again scored in the paint for the 15-point advantage.
Wofford started to settle in and scored eight straight points to narrow the UNCG lead to 23-16. Nathan Hoover hit a 3-pointer on a second-chance possession while Fletcher Magee scored five straight to trim the gap to seven. UNCG responded as it closed the first half on a 15-5 run to take a 38-21 lead into the locker room. White and Kuiper again were the cogs in the lineup, combining for 10 of the final 15 points for the Spartans in the half.
UNCG connected on 56.7 percent (17-of-30) from the field, including 13-of-16 (81.3%) on shots inside the arc. White led the way with 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting while Kuiper added nine points off the bench on 4-of-6 shooting. Wofford was held to 29.2 percent (7-of-24) shooting from the field and 4-of-12 (33.3%) from deep. Magee led the Terriers with eight points while Nathan Hoover had four points.
Wofford opened the second half on a 9-4 run to narrow the gap to 42-30 as Hoover and Ryan Sawvell hit early 3-pointers. The run by the Terriers was short-lived as UNCG responded to a hard foul on sophomore guard Francis Alonso (Malaga, Spain/Cushing Academy) with a 12-2 run that pushed the lead to 54-32 with 11:15 remaining. Redshirt freshman forward James Dickey (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God) converted a 3-point play before Baldwin scored five straight, including a 3-pointer for the 22-point advantage.
UNCG would extend the lead to 24 at 68-44 when Massey stole the ball at midcourt and scored on the fast break. UNCG would coast the final 4:56 of the game, keeping the Terriers behind by 18 or more down the stretch.
-- UNCG --