Menís Hoops Falls At SoCon Champion Davidson
DAVIDSON, N.C. – Despite the first career double-double by redshirt freshman center R.J. White (Frisco, Texas/Frisco), the UNCG men’s basketball team dropped a 79-46 contest to Davidson Thursday night at Belk Arena. With the victory, Davidson secured the Southern Conference regular season title improving to 14-1 in league play, while the Spartans fall to 6-9 on the year.
“Tonight was a tough one to swallow,” head coach Wes Miller said. “We didn’t pay enough attention to detail in the scouting report and that is probably why it got away from us. Give Davidson credit. They are a really good basketball club and it is all business to them. When you make a mistake, they make you pay on both the offensive and defensive ends. None of us feel good about this game, but we have to turn the page and get ready for Wofford in less than 48 hours.”
UNCG is battling for SoCon Tournament seeding heading into the final game of the regular season at Wofford Saturday night. The Spartans are still alive for the No. 6-8 seeds depending on their outcome at Wofford, the outcome of Western Carolina at Samford and the outcome of Georgia Southern at The Citadel. Additionally, the Spartans can claim any of the three seeds with a loss or a win, depending on the other games’ outcomes.
White scored a team-high 16 points and grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds off the bench in just 25 minutes of action. He connected on 8-of-16 from the field to continue his strong play of late as he is averaging double figures in the month of February.
“R.J. has really come on strong for us here in the second half of conference play,” Miller said. “He is playing as good as any big guy in our league in February and has been a really big bright spot for our team. He is a kid that has improved a lot since he has arrived here last year in his redshirt year and is started to make big strides for us consistently on the court.”
UNCG finished the game shooting 33.3 percent (21-of-63) from the field and hit just 8.3 percent (1-of-12) from long range. Additionally, the Spartans only attempted seven free throws line the loss. Davidson conversely was on fire offensively, hitting 44.8 percent (26-of-58) from the field and 13-of-27 (48.1%) from long range while also attempting 21 free throws.
The Wildcats placed three in double figures in the victory with Sullivan leading the way with 19 points. Sullivan connected on 5-of-8 from long-range while Brooks added 16 points and nine rebounds. Kalinoski finished with 14 points as he hit 4-of-7 from distance.
The Spartans and wildcats battled back and forth in the early going, trading baskets in the slow moving start with both teams tied at 11-11. White came off the bench and scored six early points to lead UNCG. The Wildcats answered with an 8-2 run to take a 19-13 lead as they hit back-to-back three-pointers, forcing a UNCG timeout after Jack Gibbs hit a long-range shot.
The Spartans pulled back within four as White scored on an offensive put-back to make it a 21-17 contest. Davidson closed the half on a 23-8 run over the final seven minutes to take a 44-25 lead into the locker room as the Wildcats hit six three-pointers in the run. Davidson finished the half shooting 9-of-16 (56.3%) from three-point land in the first half and 50 percent (15-of-30) from the field. Tyler Kalinoski led the way with 14 points as he hit four three-pointers while Brian Sullivan added 11 points on the strength of three three-pointers.
UNCG finished the first half shooting 35.3 percent (12-of-34) from the field and missed all five of its long-range shots. White led the Spartans with 12 points off the bench connecting on 6-of-10 from the field, while junior Kyle Cain (Chicago, Ill./Arizona State) chipped in six points.
Davidson came out in the second half and opened on a 7-2 run to take a 52-27 lead as it started much like the first half ended with Sullivan nailing an early three-pointer. Freshman Tyrone Outlaw (Roxboro, N.C./Person County) provided the Spartans with a spark as he scored seven straight points to narrow the gap to 52-34, but Davidson answered back with a 19-6 run to end any doubt in the contest.
The Spartans close out the 2013-14 regular season Saturday evening as they travel to Spartanburg, S.C., for a meeting against Wofford. Game time is set for 7 p.m.
- UNCG -