The Spartans continue play Tuesday at noon as they battle San Diego in the second of three straight games at the Gulf Coast Showcase.
The Spartans continue play Tuesday at noon as they battle San Diego in the second of three straight games at the Gulf Coast Showcase.
Courtesy: Photo Courtesy of Carlos Morales

Menís Basketball Drops First Game At Gulf Coast Showcase 11-25-2013

GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG men’s basketball team opened the inaugural Gulf Coast Showcase Monday afternoon with a 99-62 loss to defending Western Athletic Conference Champion Louisiana Tech at the Germain Arena. The Spartans continue play with their second of three straight games Tuesday afternoon as UNCG will meet San Diego at noon in the consolation bracket. The Toreros (5-1) dropped their first game of the season 74-70 to Illinois-Chicago in the second game Monday.

“Louisiana Tech is a really experienced team that has everyone back from a 27-win team last year,” head coach Wes Miller said. “They approached it like a veteran team today. They kept coming and kept coming with their pressure, even when we had the early lead. In the end, turnovers and easy buckets for them is what did us in today. We have to regroup, because we have less than 24 hours to get back out on the floor in this tournament format.”

The Spartans (3-2) were held to just 38.9 percent (21-of-54) shooting from the field and 36.8 percent (7-of-19) from long range in the loss. Conversely, Louisiana Tech was blistering on offense hitting 63.2 percent (36-of-57) from the field and 56 percent (14-of-25) from long range. The Spartans also committed 19 turnovers on the day and were out-rebounded by a 36-23 margin, marking the first time this year that UNCG has been out-rebounded.

Sophomore guard Jordan Potts (Columbus, Ohio/Northland) led UNCG and was one of just three in double figures scoring with 13 points off the bench. Potts was 5-of-7 from the field and 3-of-5 from distance. He opened the game with three straight makes from long range, running his season-opening stretch to eight three-pointers made in a row.

Redshirt freshman center R.J. White (Frisco, Texas/Frisco) added 10 points and four rebounds off the bench as he was 6-of-7 from the free throw line. Sophomore forward Kayel Locke (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh) rounded out the Spartans in double figures with 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field.

Louisiana Tech (3-2) had five players score in double figures with Alex Hamilton leading the way with a career-high 26 points. Hamilton was 10-of-12 from the field and hit three three-pointers. Chris Anderson added 18 points off the bench while Kenyon McNeail chipped in 15 points as a reserve.

UNCG came out of the gate quickly against the Bulldogs as it handled the early pressure to open to an 8-2 lead. Junior Kyle Cain (Chicago, Ill./Arizona State) started the scoring with a pair of free throws off an offensive rebound while freshman Tevon Saddler (Aberdeen, Md./St. Frances Academy) added a layup in transition. Junior Nicholas Paulos (Salt Lake City, Utah/New Hampton School) nailed a three-pointer to give the Spartans an 11-5 lead and force Louisiana Tech into a timeout.

The Bulldogs settled in and the game tightened up as both teams traded the lead until another Paulos three-pointer made it 28-26 with 7:04 left in the half. Louisiana Tech took control from that point on as it closed on a 20-7 run to take a 48-33 lead into the locker room. The Bulldogs’ full court pressure was the catalyst, forcing UNCG into six turnovers in the final seven minutes while also nailing a pair of three-pointers.

The Spartans connected on 41.4 percent (12-of-29) from the field and hit 4-of-8 three-pointers in the first half. Paulos led the team with nine points in the first 20 minutes but UNCG committed 11 turnovers. Louisiana Tech connected on 58.1 percent (18-of-31) from the field and 53.8 percent (7-of-13) from long range.

After the Spartans trimmed the deficit to 50-37 on back-to-back baskets from Locke, the Bulldogs put the game away with a 26-10 run to take a 76-47 lead with just over 11 minutes remaining in regulation. UNCG committed six more miscues in the run while Louisiana Tech added four more three-pointers in the story of the game.

Louisiana Tech finished the game scoring 27 points off the Spartans’ 19 turnovers and also scored 44 points in the paint. The Bulldogs advance in the winners bracket and will face Illinois-Chicago Tuesday night at 6 p.m.

- UNCG -

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