GREENSBORO, N.C. – For the first time in program history, UNC Greensboro men’s basketball earned a victory in the National Invitation Tournament as the No. 1-overall seeded Spartans on Tuesday night defeated No. 8 Campbell 84-69 at the Greensboro Coliseum.
The game was UNCG’s third appearance in the NIT in school history, having previously suffered losses to Memphis in 2002 and Syracuse in 2017.
“Really proud of our guys, I thought we were ready to play,” said Head Coach Wes Miller. “We came out of the gate ready to play, but the ball wasn’t going in. [Campbell] made some tough ones, so I didn’t like the way the game started but I thought our guys battled back late in the first half. I loved how we came out of halftime. We started getting our hands on the ball and got some stuff in transition and then you look down and Francis [Alonso] and Isaiah [Miller] were just terrific tonight scoring the basketball, and once they got going in the second half I thought we got harder to guard.”
The Spartans struggled out of the gates early in the team’s first home NIT game in program history, as UNCG saw a quick 2-0 lead turn into a 13-2 deficit off a Campbell run. During the Camels’ run, the Spartans uncharacteristically turned the ball over four times.
Campbell would eventually extend its lead to as much as 13 with 12:09 remaining. Despite the deficit, though, UNCG fought back over the final eight minutes of action in the first half, flipping a game in which they were trailing by 12 to a one-point halftime lead at 33-32 when junior forward Kyrin Galloway made a layup just before time expired in the frame. It was a lead the Spartans would never give back.
Senior guard Francis Alonso scored a team-high 12 points in the first half, all coming from behind the extended NIT three-point line. Sophomore guard Isaiah Miller, meanwhile, tallied 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting along with five rebounds.
The Spartans carried the momentum into the second half, as UNCG outscored Campbell 51-37 over the final 20 minutes. UNCG led by as much as 26 in the second half before securing the 15-point victory.
In the second half, sophomore guard Isaiah Miller scored 15 of his 25 points. Alonso also pitched in 10 points while senior guard Demetrius Troy collected 11 points in the frame in front of passionate crowd of 4,459.
“First of all I want to thank them, because the atmosphere out there was incredible,” Alonso said. “It was a big factor. The way they just cheered for us and the passion they have, I remember at one point I was about to sub in and I felt that we needed a push so I asked for a little help from the crowd and they literally stood up right away and I got goose bumps just to talk about it.”
UNCG’s next opponent will be No. 5 seeded Lipscomb. Game date and time have yet to be announced, but tickets will be on sale here.
News And Notes
--With the victory, this year’s team has extended its program record for wins in a season to 29.
--UNCG is now just one of 11 schools in the country to reach 29 wins this season.
--The Spartans this season are now 8-0 in games against schools from the state of North Carolina.
--Alonso made his 139th 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 131st career appearance, which moved him into third place for the most games played in program history surpassing former teammate Kayel Locke.
--Alonso scored in double digits for the 105th time in his career.
--Alonso reached the 20-point mark for the 37th time in his career.
--Miller tied his career-high in scoring with 25 points, matching a mark set against Furman on Jan. 12.
--Miller also added to his steals total this season as he now has 104 on the year. Miller needs just six more steals to surpass ETSU’s Keith Jennings (1990-91) for the most steals in a single season by a SoCon player in conference history.
-- UNCG –