Men's Basketball Falls At Elon In Season Finale
BURLINGTON, N.C. – The UNCG men's basketball team closed out the 2012-13 regular season Saturday night with an 80-66 loss to Southern Conference rival Elon at Alumni Gym. The Spartans have secured the 10th seed in the upcoming 2013 SoCon Tournament in Asheville and will play seventh-seeded Chattanooga in the first round of the tournament. Game time Friday is set for 6 p.m. at the U.S. Cellular Center in downtown Asheville.
"You have to give Elon a lot of credit as I thought their energy was great to start the second half," head coach Wes Miller said. "I thought we were great in the first half and were able to take them out of what they wanted to do offensively. In the second half, Elon was able to get comfortable shots and get into a rhythm. We made an adjustment early in the second half which again took them out of their comfort zone, but then they were able to drive us on three straight possessions which made it tough for us to overcome."
The Spartans connected on 39.7 percent (23-of-58) from the field and 26.3 percent (5-of-19) from three-point land in the loss. Four different Spartans scored in double figures, including freshman forward Kayel Locke (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh) leading the way with 13 points, all in the second half. Fifth-year senior forward Kelvin McNeil (Newport News, Va./Delaware) posted his fourth double-double of the season with 11 points and a career-high 12 rebounds, making his first double-dip since Dec. 31 (at NC State).
Elon connected on 56.5 percent (26-of-46) from the field and hit 33.3 percent (5-of-15) from three-point land. The Phoenix hit 82.1 percent (23-of-28) from the free throw line in the victory. Lucas Troutman led all scorers with 25 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field and 7-of-8 from the free throw line. Ryley Beaumont added 14 points and nine rebounds while Sebastian Koch chipped in nine points.
UNCG and Elon battled back and forth during the hard fought first half as the Phoenix opened to an early 6-0 lead. Sophomore Nicholas Paulos (Salt Lake City, Utah/New Hampton School) nailed a deep three-pointer for the Spartans first basket while senior Derrell Armstrong (Mechanicsville, Md./Allegany CC) scored on a drive to help UNCG weather the early storm from Elon's senior night.
The Phoenix took a 21-16 lead as they scored six straight points with Tanner Samson hitting a pair of free throws after a UNCG technical foul was called on the bench. The Spartans kept battling and pulled within one at the break as they close on a 12-7 run after the technical. Senior Korey Van Dussen (Zeeland, Mich./Zeeland East) scored four points in the run, including the last basket of the half as he drove down the lane and nailed a floater with four seconds left to make it a 29-28 deficit for UNCG.
The Spartans connected on 45.8 percent (11-of-24) from the field in the first half but hit just 2-of-8 (25%). McNeil led the Spartans with nine points off the bench as he hit 4-of-4 from the field in the half while Armstrong and Paulos each added five points.
Elon connected on 45 percent (9-of-20) from the field and missed all six three-pointers. The Phoenix were the beneficiary of the free throw line as they hit 11-of-14 (78.6%) from the stripe as UNCG committed 13 fouls compared to six for Elon. Troutman led Elon with 13 points as he was 5-of-7 from the field while Josh Bonney added six points.
Elon came out of the halftime break and scored the first seven points of the half, forcing the Spartans into an early timeout. Koch opened the scoring with a three-pointer while Beaumont and Troutman each hit jumpers to give the Phoenix a 36-28 lead just 2:12 into the second half.
The Spartans answered right back with a 7-0 spurt that took just 43 seconds to narrow the gap to 36-35. Locke started the run scoring down low and was fouled. He missed the free throw but junior David Williams (Jacksonville, Fla./First Coast) grabbed the offensive rebound which allowed the Spartans to find freshman Jordan Potts (Columbus, Ohio/Northland) who nailed a three-pointer. UNCG forced a timeout in the ensuing possession and Locke scored to make it a one-point game.
Elon posted a 15-7 run to take a 53-44 lead as Beaumont started to get going. He scored eight points in the stretch while Troutman hit for four points. The Spartans narrowed the gap to eight at 64-56 when junior Trevis Simpson (Douglas, Ga./Coffee) hit a pair of free throws, but Elon ended the threat with a 9-2 run as Kevin Blake and Tanner Samson hit three-pointers.
Junior Drew Parker (Houston, Texas/La Porte) added 10 points off the bench as he was 3-of-3 from the field, including two three-pointers, while also hitting a pair of free throws. Simpson added 11 points off the bench despite battling through flu symptoms.
The 2013 SoCon Tournament runs March 8-11 in Asheville. The 10th-seeded Spartans will face off against seventh-seeded Chattanooga in the first round at 6 p.m. Friday. The winner of that game will play second-seeded Elon Saturday.
- UNCG -