GREENSBORO, N.C. – It took longer than it had all season, but UNC Greensboro men’s basketball on Thursday night scored an overtime victory in memorable fashion, knocking off Western Carolina 79-76 at the Greensboro Coliseum.
After the Catamounts sent the game to the extra frame on a deep three on the last shot of the second half, senior guard Francis Alonso made a three with five seconds left in overtime to pull ahead for good. Then sophomore guard Isaiah Miller blocked a potential game-tying attempt by the Catamounts as time expired.
While UNCG didn’t score its first basket until 16:24 remaining in the first half when Miller drove the lane for a layup to tie the game at two points apiece, the Spartans would go on a 12-0 run to take a 10-point lead after the under-12 media timeout.
During that run, UNCG didn’t allow a point for nearly eight minutes as the Spartan defense held the Catamounts without a made basket on 11 straight tries.
After neither team made a three-point attempt through the first 12 minutes of the contest, UNCG made back-to-back shots from long range (senior guard Demetrius Troy and junior forward Kyrin Galloway) to pull ahead 22-12. The Catamounts, however, tied up the game at 22 with 3:05 remaining in the first half.
Junior forward James Dickey made sure the Western Carolina’s momentum was stunted at that point, though, as he gave the Spartans a lift over the final three minutes of the frame. Dickey scored eight straight points to give UNCG a 30-22 lead at halftime. For the half, Dickey scored 10 points along with grabbing six rebounds and blocking two shots.
Despite taking a nine-point lead at 41-32 early in the second half, Western Carolina tied it back up with 12:20 remaining in the frame. A 9-0 Catamount run was jumpstarted by a UNCG technical foul followed by an offensive foul called by the Spartans.
Miller, however, answered with six straight points in the matter of seconds. First, the sophomore was on the receiving end of an alley-oop off an inbounds pass from Troy. Then after stealing Western Carolina’s inbound pass, Miller was perfect on both ends of an and-one.
Still, the game was tight down the stretch, with the Catamounts taking a one-point lead with 3:26 remaining off a four-point play. The foul was Dickey’s fifth.
But the Spartans fought back and took a 67-64 lead with just seconds remaining before the Catamounts forced overtime on a three at the buzzer.
The Catamounts did not lead at any point in overtime before Alonso sent the fans home happy.
The Spartans will play their final home game of the season on Sunday afternoon when UNCG hosts ETSU on Senior Day.
Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m.
News And Notes
--The victory ties this year’s team for the third-most wins in a single season in program history, joining the 1994-95 team. Last year’s squad one a school-best 27 games, surpassing the 25 victories compiled by the 2016-17 team.
--The victory was UNCG’s 13th home victory this season, tying the 2016-17 team for the second-most victories at home in a season. Last year’s team won 16 home games.
--The victory was also the team’s sixth straight home victory, which is tied for 17th longest home winning streak in the country.
--This is the third straight season in which the Spartans have swept the Catamounts.
--UNCG closes the deficit in the all-times series to 22-32.
--The victory moves UNCG ahead of Western Carolina in games played in Greensboro, 11-10.
--UNCG is now 7-0 this season against teams from the state of North Carolina.
--With six steals tonight, Miller set a new program record for steals in a season (84), surpassing Courtney Eldridge’s 82-steal season in 2000-01.
--Alonso is now 19 points away from being the second 2,000-point scorer in program history.
--Alonso made his 132nd appearance, which is the second-most in program history. Alonso trails only RJ White (140) for games played in program history.
--Troy is now three assists away from moving past Dwayne Johnson for the fourth-most assists in program history.
-- UNCG –