BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The UNCG men’s basketball team scored a season-high 98 points and set a UNCG single-game record for 3-point percentage, converting 76.2 percent (16-of-21) Saturday night as the Spartans won their fifth-straight with a 98-82 victory at Samford in the Pete Hanna Center. The victory improves the Spartans to 16-5 overall on the year and 7-1 in league play, taking over sole possession of second place in the Southern Conference.
The Spartans came out firing on all cylinders, scoring a season-high 53 points in the first half on its way to a 98-point showing. UNCG connected on 16-of-21 from distance (76.2%), surpassing the previous record of 72.7 percent (8-of-11) set against Wofford in 2003. The Spartans hit 9-of-11 (81.8%) from 3-point land in the first half as they stormed out to a 53-30 halftime lead.
Junior guard Francis Alonso (Malaga, Spain/Cushing Academy) led five Spartans in double figures with a team-high 24 points. Alonso led the way from distance, tying his career-high with eight 3-pointers, connecting on 88.9 percent (8-of-9) including all five of his shots in the second half. Senior forward Marvin Smith (Richmond, Va./Fork Union Military Academy) added 18 points and seven rebounds as he hit 3-of-5 from 3-point land and 5-of-6 from the free throw line.
Senior forward Jordy Kuiper (Groningen, Netherlands/Canaries Basketball Academy) scored a career-high 16 points while grabbing seven rebounds. Kuiper connected on 4-of-5 from 3-point land, surpassing his previous career-high of 14 points set at N.C. State. Junior guard Demetrius Troy (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God) dished out a career-high 11 assists as the Spartans had 25 helpers compared to just 11 for the Bulldogs.
Freshman guard Isaiah Miller (Covington, Ga./Newton) added 10 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals off the bench in 17 minutes. Miller was 4-of-5 from the field and hit both of his free throws. Sophomore forward James Dickey (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God) added 10 points in the second half while Kyrin Galloway (Milton, Ga./Milton) added eight points and six rebounds in the first half.
UNCG finished the game shooting 64.2 percent (34-of-53) from the field and 87.5 percent (14-of-16) from the charity stripe. The Spartans dominated the glass, out-rebounded the Bulldogs by a 37-19 margin. Samford (7-15, 3-6 SoCon) finished the night shooting 41.4 percent (24-of-58) from the field and 34.6 percent (9-of-26) from distance. The Bulldogs when to the free throw line 29 times, connected on 86.2 percent. Josh Starkey led the Bulldogs with 25 points on the bench, hitting 15-of-18 from the charity stripe.
The Spartans opened the game on a 9-0 run as Alonso and Kuiper combined for three early 3-pointers. UNCG kept adding to its lead, running out to a 25-6 lead. Smith ignited the run with seven points, including a 3-pointer, before Miller scored six-straight for the 19-point lead.
The Spartans would lead by as many as 25 in the first half when senior guard Justin Jordan (Davidson, N.C./Milwaukee) scored off a drive for the 51-26 lead with 1:16 remaining. UNCG took a 53-30 lead into the locker room as it held Samford to just 25 percent (7-of-28) shooting from the field and 22.2 percent (2-of-9) shooting from distance in the opening half.
The second half saw both teams shoot over 55 percent as Samford out-scored UNCG 52-45 in the frame. The Spartans were 17-of-26 (65.4%) shooting from the field and 70 percent (7-of-10) from deep in the second half. Alonso led the way going 5-of-5 from deep for 15 points. Samford connected on 56.7 percent (17-of-30) from the field and 41.2 percent (7-of-17) from deep. Sharkey led the way with 18 points, hitting 4-of-4 from the field and 9-of-10 from the free throw line.
The Spartans led by as many as 26 points in the second half and never allowed Samford closer than 15 points in the final minute of the game. The victory improves UNCG to 11-10 all-time against Samford as the Spartans have won six out of the last seven meetings, including three-straight in Birmingham.
The Spartans continue their road swing weekend Monday evening as they travel to Chattanooga. Game time is set for 7 p.m. against the Mocs and will be televised on ESPN3 and the ESPN App.
-- UNCG --