ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Fueled by a 22-6 run to end the game, UNC Greensboro men’s basketball mounted yet another epic comeback against Samford this season, this time knocking off the Bulldogs 77-70 in the quarterfinals of the 2019 Ingles Southern Conference Men’s Basketball Championship presented by General Shale at U.S. Cellular Center.
With the victory, the Spartans have tied a program record for victories in a single season, as UNCG is now 27-5 on the year with a semifinals matchup against the winner of No. 3 Furman vs. No. 6 Mercer at 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
The Spartans had difficulty finding their rhythm in the first half, as UNCG only led for 37 seconds before heading into the halftime break down 43-31. The Spartans started just 1-of-6 from the field before finishing the frame 11-of-29 (38 percent). Conversely, the Bulldogs shot 59 percent from the field with 26 of their points coming in the paint.
Additionally, UNCG trailed in the rebounding battled 19-14 as senior guard Francis Alonso led UNCG in scoring in the first half with 11 points.
While Samford still kept UNCG at an arm’s length reach for the beginning stages of the season half, Alonso helped put the Spartans in the lead with 3:58 remaining, first hitting a three from deep before making a pair of free throws. With those free throws, UNCG maintained its lead through the remainder of the game before scoring a 77-70 victory and staving off an upset bid by the No. 7 seed Samford.
In the second half, UNCG held Samford to just 26.7 percent shooting (8-of-30) while outrebounding the Bulldogs 21-16.
As for Alonso, he scored a season-high 31 points with 13 of those points coming from the free throw line.
News And Notes
--As noted, today’s victory ties this year’s team with last year’s version for the most victories in a single season.
--Entering Saturday’s action, only six other schools had reached the 27-win mark each of the last two seasons: Gonzaga, Buffalo, Houston, Nevada, Tennessee and Virginia.
--The Spartans are now 21-19 all-time in the SoCon Tournament.
--The Spartans extend their advantage in the all-time series to 15-10.
--The Spartans have now won six straight against the Bulldogs.
--Alonso made his 136th career appearance, which is the second-most in program history. Alonso trails only RJ White (140) for games played in program history.
--Senior guard Demetrius Troy made his 128th career appearance, which is the fourth-most in program history. Troy needs four more appearances to surpass former teammate Kayel Locke (130) for the third-most games played in school history.
--Alonso scored in double digits for the 102nd time in his career.
--Alonso reached the 30-point mark for the fifth time in his career.
--Troy (439) moved past former teammate Diante Baldwin (437) for the third-most assists in program history.
--Sophomore guard Isaiah Miller now has 96 steals on the season. If the Covington, Ga., native records four more steals this season, he’ll become the first player in program history with 100 steals in a single season.
-- UNCG –