CHARLESTON, S.C. – A comeback against a team that was white-hot from three-point land.
Despite being down by as many as 16 points against a team that would ultimately make 22 three pointers on the night, UNC Greensboro men’s basketball on Thursday was able to fight off The Citadel in a 100-96 victory at McAlister Field House. The Spartans are now 25-5 on the season and 14-3 in Southern Conference play going into the regular season finale on Saturday.
In the victorious effort, senior guard Francis Alonso became just the second player in program history to reach 2,000 career points, joining Kyle Hines.
Sophomore guard Isaiah Miller had UNCG’s first six points of the contest including converting his 88th steal of the season into a fast break slam and a one-handed offensive board into points as well. But while Miller was giving The Citadel’s defense fits early, the Bulldogs were on fire from three throughout the entire first half.
In total, the Bulldogs hit on 13-of-19 attempts from three-point land with guard Connor Kern making seven threes for a game-high 23 points in the first half.
Despite The Citadel’s success from behind the arc, UNCG went into the halftime break down just one at 50-49 as the Spartans had a balanced offensive attack which saw five different players score at least six points. Alonso and junior guard Malik Massey led the team with nine points apiece.
The Citadel’s hot shooting continued early in the second half, as the Bulldogs opened the frame on a 10-0 run before UNCG called a timeout down 60-49. That deficit would increase to 16 points with 17 minutes remaining before UNCG eventually took back the lead at 81-79 when Alonso hit a three with 8:31 remaining.
During the 32-14 run, the Spartans hit six threes including a pair from senior guard Demetrius Troy.
Still, UNCG was in a back and forth battle down until the very end. With 41 seconds left in the game, the Bulldogs pulled back within one at 96-95 when The Citadel’s Lew Stallworth drove the lane for a score. But four made free throws in the final 35 seconds secured a 100-96 victory.
The Spartans will conclude the regular season on Saturday afternoon as UNCG faces Mercer in Macon, Ga.
Tip-off is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
News And Notes
--The 25th victory is tied for the second-most in a single season in program history. Two years ago, the 2016-17 squad recorded 25 victories, only behind the 27 victories assembled by last year’s team.
--The victory was UNCG’s 10th on the road this season. Only one other time have the Spartans reached a double-digit road win total (11, 1994-95).
--The victory was UNCG’s 11th straight against The Citadel.
--The Spartans have now won their last seven appearances at McAlister Field House dating back to a 59-53 victory on Feb. 20, 2010.
--UNCG now holds a 28-9 advantage in the all-time series.
--Alonso made his 134th career appearance, which is the second-most in program history. Alonso trails only RJ White (140) for games played in program history.
--Alonso scored in double digits for the 100th time in his career.
--Miller moved into eighth place in career steals in program history.
--Miller also moved into a tie for fourth place in steals in a single season by a SoCon player, joining Western Carolina’s Brigham Waginger (90, 2009-10).
-- UNCG –