Paulos' Three-Point Barrage Shoots Men’s Hoops Flying Past Chattanooga
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – UNCG sophomore forward Nicholas Paulos (Salt Lake City, Utah/New Hampton School) set a UNCG single-game record with 10 three-pointers on his way to 30 points to lead the Spartans to a 94-68 blowout victory over Southern Conference foe Chattanooga Thursday night at McKenzie Arena. Paulos' efforts helped the Spartans set a single-game three-point record as they hit 20 as a team.
"We played well tonight," head coach Wes Miller said. "We guarded and were into it defensively with great defensive energy. Obviously, we shot the ball well and that jumps off the stat sheet first and foremost. The thing I am most proud of is the way we shared the ball tonight with 27 assists. That is the best we have shared the ball all year. When you play together on defense, shoot the ball well and share it like we did, good things tend to happen."
Paulos connected on a staggering 10-of-12 (83.3%) from three-point land in the victory as he hit his first four of the first half and his first six of the second half. His second half outburst included six consecutive three-pointers in a stretch of 2:53 taking the Spartans to a 28-point lead. His 10 three-pointers breaks the former UNCG single-game record of nine, which he held with former Spartan and current director of basketball operations Kevin Oleksiak. He accomplished the feat in just 21 minutes of action off the bench as he fought through foul trouble, which limited his minutes.
"I was definitely feeling it tonight and all the credit goes to my teammates," Paulos said. "They were doing a great job screening for me and getting me great looks. It feels great to help my team scoring tonight, but to the most important thing is we got the win at the end of the night."
The Spartans finished the game hitting 20-of-36 three-pointers as a team, breaking the single-game mark of 17 three-pointers set just two years ago in the same building against the Mocs (1/27/11). UNCG hit 10 three-pointers in both the first half and the second half on its way to a season-high 94 points.
The Spartans also dished out a season-high 27 assists in the victory, which is the most for the Spartans against an NCAA Division I team in program history. UNCG had 10 players with at least one assists with senior Drew Parker (Houston, Texas/La Porte) leading the way with a season-high seven in his first game coming off the bench.
The Spartans placed five in double figures in the victory, marking the first time all season they have accomplished that feat. Senior Korey Van Dussen (Zeeland, Mich./Zeeland East) scored 11 points off the bench in 24 minutes of action while Kelvin McNeil (Newport News, Va./Delaware), Trevis Simpson (Douglas, Ga./Coffee) and David Williams (Jacksonville, Fla./First Coast) each added 10 points in the win.
The Spartans and Mocs went back-and-forth for the first four minutes of the game with UNCG taking an early 11-7 lead as freshman Kayel Locke (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh) scored four early points and classmate Jordan Potts (Columbus, Ohio/Northland) hit an early three-pointer. The Spartans force Chattanooga into a timeout after back-to-back three-pointers by Parker and Van Dussen.
Chattanooga narrowed the UNCG lead down to 22-17 after Z. Mason converted an old-fashioned three-point play. The Spartans broke the game open from long distance with a 15-4 run as they hit five straight three-pointers to take a 37-21 lead and force the Mocs into another timeout. Paulos hit a pair of long range shots in the while Williams, Parker and Van Dussen also got into the act.
The Spartans went into the locker room at halftime with a 47-29 lead thanks in large part to their three-point shooting. UNCG connected on 11-of-24 (52.4%) from long range in the first half and dished out 15 assists in the first 20 minutes of action. The 11 three-pointers tied their season-high for a game while their 15 assists are the most in any half this season for UNCG.
The Spartans' bench highlighted the attack in the first half scoring 31 points with Paulos leading the way with 12 as he was 4-of-5 from long range. Van Dussen added nine points and Parker chipped in six off the bench, all from three-point land.
Chattanooga was led to just 6-of-24 (25%) shooting from the field in the first half but stayed within striking distance courtesy of the free throw line. The Mocs connected on 16-of-19 (84.2%) from the charity stripe in the first half as Mason led Chattanooga with 10 points, six of which came from the stripe.
The Spartans extended the lead coming out of the break to 21 points at 51-30 when McNeil scored on a breakaway dunk. The Mocs came back with four straight free throws from Gee McGhee before Paulos' three-point barrage began.
Paulos started his run at the 14:59 mark if the second half to give the Spartans a 58-36 lead. He continued to fire from deep hitting six straight threes on consecutive possessions to put UNCG in front 73-46 with 12:06 left in the half drawing a standing ovation from the visiting crowd at McKenzie Arena.
The barrage ended any doubt in the contest as the Spartans cruised down the stretch to score a season-high 94 points, scoring 47 in each half. UNCG connected on 48.6 percent (34-of-70) from the field as its bench out-scored the Mocs' bench 57-17.
Chattanooga connected on 35.8 percent (19-of-53) from the field in the loss as it committed 15 turnovers. Mason led the Mocs with 21 points and eight rebounds as he was 7-of-11 from the field and 7-of-10 from the free throw line. McGhee added 13 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the line while White chipped in 12 points on a perfect 8-of-8 from the line.
The Spartans conclude their two-game road swing Saturday night as they travel to Birmingham to face Samford at 7 p.m. (CT).
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