Outlaw’s Career-High Lifts Men’s Hoops Over Georgia Southern
STATESBORO, Ga. – UNCG freshman guard Tyrone Outlaw (Roxboro, N.C./Person County) came off the bench to score a career-high 17 points, leading the Spartans to a 68-56 Southern Conference victory over Georgia Southern Thursday afternoon at Hammons Fieldhouse. The game was played a day late after being postponed Wednesday due to the winter and ice storm in the Southeast.
“We are happy to get a win on the road on what has been an interesting trip, weather-wise for us,” head coach Wes Miller said. “I liked our guys’ mindset tonight as in the second half as they turned up their fight and tenacity. We built on some shots and got baskets in transition, which sparked us. It was a team effort as we had guys step up and make some big shots for us.”
Outlaw scored a career-high 17 points off the bench in just 20 minutes of action, giving the Spartans a needed offensive boost, including 11 points in the second half as UNCG rallied for the victory. He connected on 6-of-9 from the field and was 5-of-6 from three-point land, including hitting his first five long distance shots. His play helped the Spartans out-score Georgia Southern 38-25 in the second half.
“Tyrone was a spark for us and hit big shots today,” Miller said. “He got an opportunity this game and took advantage of that chance in a big way. He was really the difference in the game for us, giving us scoring from the perimeter, which is something we have lacked recently.”
Freshman guard Tevon Saddler (Aberdeen, Md./St. Frances Academy) turned in a strong all-around game as well in the victory. Saddler scored 12 points, grabbed a career-high eight rebounds, dished out five assists and blocked two shots. Redshirt freshman center R.J. White (Frisco, Texas/Frisco) grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds while adding eight points and junior Kyle Cain (Chicago, Ill./Arizona State) added 11 rebounds and six points.
The Spartans connected on 42.1 percent (24-of-57) from the field and 50 percent (8-of-16) from long range. UNCG was strong from the free throw line, hitting 12-of-14 (85.7%), including 10-of-12 in the second half compared to just 52 percent (13-of-25) for the Eagles. The Spartans also regrouped from a tough first 10 minutes on the glass and won the rebounding battle by a 42-40 margin, including a 23-18 edge in the second half.
Georgia Southern was limited to just 31 percent (18-of-58) shooting from the field and only 24.1 percent (7-of-29) from long range. The Eagles were out-scored 33-21 in the paint and UNCG held the SoCon’s leading scorer, Jelani Hewitt, to just nine points, 11 below his season average. Tre Bussey and Brian Holmes led the Eagles in the loss with 12 points apiece.
The Spartans came out of the gate and took an early 12-8 as they hit a pair of three-pointers in the first six minutes. Sophomore forward Kayel Locke (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh) hit the first long-distance shot of the half and Outlaw added a three-pointer for the four-point lead.
Georgia Southern answered with a 10-2 run to take an 18-14 lead. The Eagles took the lead as they started to hit from the outside as three different players hit three-pointers, including Curtis Diamond’s shot which capped the run. The Spartans stayed within four points for most of the half until a modest 5-0 run narrowed the gap to 29-28 as Outlaw hit his second three-pointer of the half.
UNCG went into the locker room trailing 31-30 as junior Nicholas Paulos (Salt Lake City, Utah/New Hampton School) scored in the closing seconds off a passfrom Saddler. The Spartans connected on 41.4 percent (12-of-29) from the field and 44.4 percent (4-of-9) from long range in the half but only went to the free throw line two times compared to 11 attempts for the Eagles. Saddler led the way with six points, five rebounds and five assists in the opening 20 minutes while Cain and Outlaw also chipped in six points each.
Georgia Southern connected on 31.3 percent (10-of-32) from the field and hit 4-of-17 (23.5%) from long range in the opening half, but hit 7-of-11 (63.6%) from the charity stripe. The Eagles controlled the glass in the early going, holding six-rebound edge in the first 10 minutes of the game, but UNCG slowly started to claw back to even, trailing on 22-19 at the break. Tre Bussey led Georgia Southern with eight points while Brian Holmes added six points.
Georgia Southern came out in the second half and scored the first five points to take a 36-30 lead and force the Spartans into an early timeout. Bussey scored four of the points in the run as the Eagles were able to force UNCG into early turnovers, which led directly to points.
After a three-pointer by Diamond gave GSU a 42-37 lead, the Spartans took over and notched an 11-0 run taking a 48-42 lead with 11:03 remaining. The Spartans’ defense stepped up as sophomore Jordan Potts (Columbus, Ohio/Northland) forced a steal and freshman Diante Baldwin (Greensboro, N.C./High Point Christian) scored in transition to ignite the run.
White pulled the Spartans within one as he scored in the post and Outlaw put UNCG in front for good with a runner in the lane. Locke scored the next five points, including and old-fashioned three-point play on a fade away jump shot for a 48-42 lead.
After a Holmes three cut the lead down to 48-45, senior Drew Parker (Houston, Texas/La Porte) nailed his second long range shot to extend the lead back to six. Georgia Southern kept the game close and narrowed the gap to three once again as Holmes hit his third trifecta to make it a 55-52 contest.
The Spartans had the game’s final blow, turning in a 13-2 run to end any doubt and take a 68-54 lead. Outlaw was the catalyst as he nailed back-to-back three-pointers in a span of 27 seconds taking the lead from three to nine quickly. UNCG was able to seal the victory at the free throw line, hitting seven of its last eight from the charity stripe to win going away.
The Spartans had seven different players score at least six points in the victory. Baldwin added eight points in his first career start as he was 3-of-5 from the field and hit 2-of-3 from the free throw line. Locke added eight points while Parker finished with six points.
The Spartans return home to Greensboro Sunday afternoon as they host Western Carolina. Game time is set for 2 p.m. at the Greensboro Coliseum.
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