CULLOWHEE, N.C. – With less than six minutes left in the game, UNC Greensboro men’s basketball was trailing Western Carolina 58-52 as the Spartans were struggling to stop a surging second half Catamounts offense. But a 17-2 run by UNCG over the last 5:12 of action completely took the air out of the Ramsey Center on Thursday night.
In the end, a 69-60 decision pushed UNCG’s season record to 16-3 and the team’s SoCon record to 5-1 with a key road tilt against ETSU in Johnson City, Tenn., on deck.
Junior forward James Dickey was huge in the Spartans’ late surge against the Catamounts, scoring all eight points of his points on the night during the stretch-run along with four rebounds and a steal.
The Spartans led for more than 18 minutes of the first half action weathering a double-double by Western Carolina’s Carlos Dotson at 15 points and 10 rebounds to take a 33-27 lead into the halftime break.
While senior guard Francis Alonso missed four of his first five shots on the night, the Malaga, Spain, native got things going from the field as he scored a team-high 11 points in the first half. Fellow senior guard Demetrius Troy, meanwhile, dished out five assists in the opening frame.
The Spartans started the second half slow, though, as UNCG saw its six-point halftime lead evaporate into a four-point deficit with 14:41 remaining.
UNCG would not take back the lead until there was less than four minutes remaining in the game when Kyrin Galloway made a three from the top of the arc to put UNCG back ahead at 59-58. The Spartans wouldn’t look back before scoring a nine-point victory.
The Spartans will return to action on Saturday afternoon when UNCG faces ETSU at Freedom Hall. Tip-off for that game is scheduled for 4 p.m.
News And Notes
--With the victory, UNCG is now 7-2 in road games this season. Since falling to Kentucky at Rupp Arena on Dec. 1, the Spartans have defeated Elon, Samford, VMI and Western Carolina in their home arenas.
--UNCG is also off to its best conference start since a 7-1 conference start assembled by a 2016-17 team that went on to win the SoCon regular season title.
--UNCG has now won six straight games against the Catamounts.
--The Spartans have also now won their last three games against Western Carolina at the Ramsey Center.
--The victory was UNCG’s 21 against Western Carolina, cutting the deficit in the all-time series to 21-33.
--For the 17th time in 18 games this year, Alonso reached double figures in scoring as the Malaga, Spain, native scored 20 points. Alonso has also now scored at least 10 points in 91 career games with the Spartans.
--It was also the 33rd time in his career that Alonso has scored at least 20 points in a game.
--Alonso also started for the 114th time in his career, breaking a tie with Scott Hartzell, James Maye and and Ben Stywall for the fourth-most starts in program history. Alonso now only trails Kyle Hines (118), Jay Joseph (118) and former teammate Kayel Locke (115) for the most starts in program history.
--UNCG also used the same starting lineup against Western Carolina as it did for the Furman game: Isaiah Miller, Troy, Alonso, Galloway and Dickey.
-- UNCG –