WILMINGTON, N.C. – UNC Greensboro men’s basketball is off to a 2-1 start to the season as the Spartans on Tuesday evening knocked off UNCW by a 82-61 final at Trask Coliseum. UNCG’s 16-point lead at halftime was cut down to just three points midway through the second half before ending the game on a 24-7 run.
“I think any time you win on the road, it’s a good win,” said Head Coach Wes Miller. “I think playing against C.B.’s team now for the second year in a row, I think his team’s much improved. We were really impressed on tape – I think they’re going to have a great year. Needless to say, we’re excited to come in here and get a win in a tough environment against what we think is going to be a really good team in the Colonial.”
In the first half, the Spartans carried over their hot shooting from last Friday against LSU, as UNCG shot 57 percent from the field while a smothering defensive effort at times limited the Seahawks to just 33 percent shooting. Additionally, UNCG forced UNCW into 11 turnovers in the first 20 minutes.
The Spartans’ first half was fueled by an 11-0 run after the Seahawks took a 12-10 lead a little more than seven minutes into the game.
During the opening frame, three different Spartans scored at least eight points with Francis Alonso leading the way with 10 points while Demetrius Troy and Eric Hamilton both chipped in eight points. Hamilton saw significant action in the first half after James Dickey picked up two early fouls, as the Wichita State transfer also added four rebounds. Freshman Mohammed Abdulsalam also scored his first two collegiate points when he grabbed an offensive rebound off a missed Isaiah Miller shot before laying it in.
Defensively, Miller provided a spark off the bench with a block and turnover on his first defensive appearance on the court. He also contributed to the Seahawks’ offensive struggles against UNCG’s defense, forcing three turnovers.
In the second half, UNCG struggled from the field early as it did not make a field goal until almost five full minutes into the frame before Malik Massey halted a 10-0 run for UNCW with a fast-break layup. While UNCW once again went on a run following Massey’s bucket, the junior stopped another run with a three pointer. Down the stretch, Massey continued to be a key player as he was 4-of-5 from the field with 11 points.
After the Seahawks sliced the Spartans’ lead down to just three with 9:49 remaining, UNCG went on its extended 24-7 run to end the game and get its second victory of the season.
The Spartans will return to the court Friday evening when they host their home opener against Johnson & Wales at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
News And Notes
--With the victory, UNCG has tied the all-time series with UNCW, 4-4. It is the first time the Spartans have won back-to-back games in the series since winning three straight games (1990-91, 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons).
--The 21-point difference is the largest margin of victory for either team in the series.
--The Spartans are now 2-1 through three games for the third time in the last four seasons.
--Alonso also continues to light it up for the Spartans as he’s now just four points away from surpassing James Maye for third place in program history.
--Alonso also is now just three made three pointers away from setting the new program record after he hit two from downtown against UNCW.
--Abdulsalam scored his first collegiate points in his second game for the Spartans after a first half offensive rebound resulted in a quick layup and score. The freshman forward made his debut against No. 23 LSU, but did not score in four minutes of action.
--Fellow freshman Angelo Allegri also scored for the first time in his career, going 2-of-4 from the field for four points.
-- UNCG –