Men's Basketball Heads To Asheville For SoCon Tournament
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG men's basketball team enters the 2013 Southern Conference Tournament in Asheville as the 10th seed and opens play Friday evening facing off against seventh-seeded Chattanooga. Game time is set for 6 p.m. at the U.S. Cellular Center in downtown and will be televised on ESPN3.com with a link available on www.uncgspartans.com was Darren Goldwater and Dean Keener will provide the call. Additionally, the game will be radio broadcast on 1320 WCOG AM with Scott Pryzwansky and Darryl Kosciak calling the game.
The 2013 SoCon Tournament marks the 16th appearance all-time for the Spartans, since their first season in the league in 1998. UNCG is 13-14 all-time in tournament play, including nine seasons with at least one victory in the event. The Spartans have advanced to the SoCon Tournament quarterfinals 10 times, the semifinals five times and twice been in the championship game. UNCG won its lone tournament title in 2001 to advance into the NCAA Tournament.
The Spartans and Mocs have met four times in tournament history, with each team winning two games. The Spartans last faced Chattanooga in the tournament finals in 2005 with the Mocs notching a 66-62 victory. UNCG also matched up with Chattanooga in 2002 (W, 67-57), 2001 (W, 67-66) and in 1998 (L, 56-55).
Friday's game marks the 33rd meeting all-time between UNCG and Chattanooga dating back to Jan. 6, 1992. The Spartans trail the all-time series by a 14-18 margin, but have won four straight sweeping the season series the last two years. Last season, UNCG posted an 81-72 victory at home and a 77-76 victory in the Greensboro Coliseum. This season, the Spartans recorded a 77-69 victory at home before completing the sweep with a 94-68 win in Chattanooga.
In the first victory, junior Trevis Simpson scored a career-high 41 points over the Mocs to set the UNCG single-game record for scoring in the NCAA Division I era. Simpson connected on 14-of-25 from the field, including a career-high seven three pointers on his way to earning SoCon Player of the Week honors. In the second victory, sophomore Nicholas Paulos saw his turn to shine as he broke the UNCG single-game record with 10 three-pointers off the bench on his way to a career-high 30 points.
The Spartans enter Friday's game as the 10th seed in the SoCon Tournament after posting a 6-12 league record and an 8-21 mark overall. UNCG has dropped six out of their last seven games entering the tournament with their lone win coming at Chattanooga. The Spartans have dropped games to Wofford, Western Carolina, Appalachian State, Samford, Georgia Southern and Elon during the stretch.
Simpson leads the team and the SoCon in scoring this season at 18.8 points per game, which ranks 31st in NCAA Division I scoring. The All-SoCon selection has scored in double figures in 25 of 27 games, including 10 games of at least 20 points. Senior guard Derrell Armstrong (Mechanicsville, Md./Allegany CC) is second on the team in scoring at 14.6 points per game while also placing second on the team in rebounds, grabbing 4.6 per contest.
Freshman forward Kayel Locke (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh) rounds out the Spartans in double figures scoring at 10.1 points per game. Paulos adds 8.0 points per game and is second on the team with 58 three-pointers. Senior forward Kelvin McNeil (Newport News, Va./Delaware) leads the team on the boards, grabbing 6.4 caroms per contest.
Chattanooga enters the tournament as the seventh seed after posting an 8-10 league record and a 13-18 mark overall on the year. The Mocs have dropped three out of their last five but its two wins were impressive of SoCon North Division champion Elon and Western Carolina while dropping games to Wofford, UNCG and Appalachian State.
Chattanooga is led by forward Z. Mason who leads the team in scoring at 14.7 points per game and on the glass at 7.6 rebounds per game. Mason, an All-SoCon selection, is shooting 48.8 percent (166-of-340) from the field and 70.8 percent (102-of-144) from the line. Freshman Gee McGhee earned SoCon All-Freshman honors after averaging 12.3 points per game and posting a team-high 43 steals.
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