GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG men’s basketball team picked up its ninth non-conference win for the second-straight season as the Spartans closed out non-league play Thursday evening with an 85-67 victory over Southeastern on campus at Fleming Gymnasium. The Spartans open Southern Conference play Dec. 30 when they host Wofford at the Greensboro Coliseum.
The Spartans’ 9-4 record in non-conference play ties last year’s record for second-most non-conference wins during the NCAA Division I era for UNCG. The win also improved the Spartans to 7-1 at home this season and ran their record to 32-9 over the last three years in Greensboro.
Four Spartans scored in double figures in the balanced attack and eight players scored six or more points. Junior guard Francis Alonso (Malaga, Spain/Cushing Academy) led the way with 20 points in 25 minutes of action as he was 6-of-10 from the field, 4-of-7 from 3-point land and a perfect 4-of-4 from the free throw line.
Redshirt freshman guard Kylia Sykes (Washington, D.C./St. John’s College) scored a career-high 11 points, all in the first half, as he was 4-of-5 from the field and 2-of-3 from 3-point land in 21 minutes of play. Senior forward Marvin Smith (Richmond, Va./Fork Union Military Academy) scored 13 points and grabbed five rebounds while freshman guard Isaiah Miller (Covington, Ga./Newton) added 12 points and seven rebounds off the bench.
The Spartans finished the game shooting 51.8 percent (29-of-56) from the field and 40.9 percent (9-of-22) from 3-point land. UNCG forced Southeastern into 16 turnovers and made those miscues into 25 points. Additionally, the Spartans out-rebounded the Fire by a 38-22 margin, generating 11 second-chance points off of nine offensive rebounds. Senior forward Jordy Kuiper (Groningen, Netherlands/Canaries Basketball Academy) led the way on the glass with 11 rebounds in 31 minutes.
Southeastern, an NAIA school from Lakeland, Fla., entered the game with an 11-2 overall record on the year. The Fire connected on 44 percent (22-of-50) from the field but just 20 percent (3-of-15) from distance. Southeastern got to the free throw line 26 times though, converting 76.9 percent. Ryan Atkins led the way with 25 points as he was 10-of-10 from the line.
The Fire started quickly, opening the game on a 12-4 run as the Spartans missed their shots early. UNCG settled in quickly and took the lead for good with a 22-5 run to take a 31-21 lead with 3:50 remaining. Miller and Sykes provided a spark off the bench to ignite the run. Miller grabbed five rebounds in the early going, including three offensive, while Sykes scored six points in the spurt, hitting a pair from the outside.
UNCG broke the game open by scoring the first eight points of the second half and never looked back, maintaining a double-digit lead throughout the second half. Junior guard Demetrius Troy (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God) scored eight points, including a pair of 3-pointers, while sophomore guard Malik Massey (Charlotte, N.C./New Hampton Prep) scored eight as well and grabbed four rebounds.
-- UNCG --