GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNC Greensboro men’s basketball got back in the win column on Saturday against a talented Furman team that was previously ranked in the AP Top 25 this year, as the Spartans defeated the Paladins 89-79 at the Greensboro Coliseum.
The victory was UNCG’s fourth straight against Furman while the Spartans are now 4-1 in conference play with its first Southern Conference road swing looming.
UNCG came out in the first half with a purpose, as the Spartans shot 53 percent from the field while forcing 11 turnovers on the defensive end of the floor.
The Spartans began the game by forcing a Furman turnover before taking advantage of the mistake on the offensive end of the floor, as junior forward James Dickey got the scoring started on the night with a putback slam on a missed layup. While the Paladins scored five unanswered, UNCG took back the led on yet another Furman turnover that was converted into a dunk by junior forward Eric Hamilton.
Although the Spartans would eventually go into a scoring drought for more than three minutes, UNCG fought back from a 13-9 deficit and took the lead over at 15-13 when redshirt freshman guard Kaleb Hunter made a jumper. During that run, the Spartans forced two charges.
UNCG then ended the half on a 6-0 run to take a 41-37 halftime lead. Sophomore guard Isaiah Miller, who was making his second career start, led the Spartans in scoring in the first half with 11 points while senior guard Francis Alonso pitched in 10 points.
Furman took over the lead less than a minute into the second half, though, as Clay Mounce and Jordan Lyons each hit from the field. Despite going down, the Spartans went on an 11-0 run over a four-plus-minute span to extend its lead to 54-44. Senior guard Demetrius Troy had five of the 11 points during the run including a corner three pointer. He also threw a perfectly placed pass to a driving Hamilton who had an open lane to slam it home.
Despite the 10-point UNCG advantage, Furman cut the deficit down to just two points with less than 11 minutes remaining.
Miller, however, pushed the Spartans’ lead back to eight at 67-59 with less than eight minutes remaining when the Georgia native hit back-to-back threes. He would eventually finish the game with a career-high 25 points.
While Furman stayed within striking distance, UNCG’s lead would balloon to as much as 13 before scoring a 10-point victory at 89-79.
The Spartans will return to action on Thursday evening to face Western Carolina in Cullowhee, N.C. Tip-off for that game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
News And Notes
--With the victory, the Spartans are now 8-1 in home games this season.
--The victory was also the fourth straight against Furman. Last season, the Spartans swept the season series with the Paladins.
--UNCG extends its lead in the all-time series to 18-16.
--The victory also snapped a three-game winning streak for Furman.
--Head Coach Wes Miller picked up his 127th career victory, all coming with the Spartans. He is now just 11 wins shy of cracking the top 25 career wins list in the SoCon.
--The Spartans forced 21 turnovers. It was the first time they’ve forced at least 20 turnovers in a game since their 111-33 victory over Greensboro College on Nov. 27.
--Miller made his second career start.
--Miller set a new career-high in scoring for the third time in five games, dropping 25 points.
--Miller also hit a career-high four three pointers.
--Alonso reached double-digit scoring for the 16th time this season, scoring 16 points.
--Dickey recorded four blocked shots, his most since swatting a season-high seven shots in the opener against North Carolina A&T.
--This was the first time this season that UNCG’s starting lineup consisted of Miller, Alonso, Troy, Kyrin Galloway and Dickey.
-- UNCG –