Menís Basketball Travels To SoCon Leader ETSU Thursday Night On ESPN3
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG men’s basketball team hits the road for a pair of games this week, beginning Thursday night when the Spartans travel to Johnson City, Tenn., for a matchup against Southern Conference leader East Tennessee State. The game is slated for a 7 p.m. tip-off at Freedom Hall. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3 and the ESPN App with Jay Sandos and Bruce Tranbarger on the call. Additionally, the game will radio broadcast on the TuneIn App and online at www.uncgspartans.com/radio with Scott Pryzwansky on the call.
The game pits two of the top teams in the SoCon as ETSU enters with a 13-3 overall record and a 3-0 mark in league play. The Spartans are currently tied for second overall in the league with a 12-5 overall record and a 3-1 mark. The Spartans’ 12-5 record is their best start through 17 games since 1995-96.
UNCG has picked up league wins over The Citadel, Chattanooga and Western Carolina while dropping a game to Samford. The Spartans are averaging 74.7 points per game while holding opponents to a league-low 65.3 points per game. UNCG is shooting 46.1 percent (465-of-1008) from the field and 39.3 percent (157-of-400) from 3-point land. Opponents are shooting 41.4 percent (378-of-912) from the field and 35.2 percent (118-of-335) from distance.
Sophomore guard Francis Alonso (Malaga, Spain/Cushing Academy) leads four Spartans in double figures. Alonso is averaging 13.4 points per game, including 17.8 points per game in SoCon play. He is shooting 44.9 percent (48-of-107) from 3-point land and 90 percent (36-of-40) from the free throw line. He has scored 47 points over the last two games, shooting 16-of-25 (64%) from the field and 7-of-14 (50%) from distance.
Senior guard Diante Baldwin (Greensboro, N.C./High Point Christian) is second on the team in scoring at 11.9 points per game. Baldwin leads the team with 74 assists and 36 steals. He is shooting 78.7 percent (37-of-47) from the free throw line. Junior forward Marvin Smith (Richmond, Va./Fork Union Military Academy) is third on the team in scoring at 10.5 points per game. Smith is second on the team with 29 made 3-pointers. Senior center R.J. White (Frisco, Texas/Frisco) rounds out the double figure scorers at 10.1 points per game and is tied for the team league with 6.4 rebounds per game.
Redshirt freshman James Dickey (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God) averages 6.4 rebounds per game off the bench and 5.4 points per game. Sophomore guard Demetrius Troy (Raleigh, .C./Word of God) adds 8.5 points per game while junior forward Jordy Kuiper (Groningen, Netherlands/Canaries Basketball Academy) chips in 6.8 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.
East Tennessee State has won four straight games with their lone losses on the year coming at UNCW, at Dayton and at home to Tennessee. ETSU has posted league wins over VMI, The Citadel and Mercer. The Buccaneers are 6-1 at home this season. ETSU is averaging 81.9 points per game while holding opponents to 67.8 points per game. The Bucs are shooting 48.7 percent (451-of-926) from the field and 39.4 percent (132-of-335) from distance.
T.J. Cromer leads the Bucs in scoring at 18.9 points per game. He is the only play in double figures scoring on the year but ETSU has eight players averaging at least 5.0 points per game. Cromer has hit a team-high 53 3-pointers, shooting 41.1 percent from deep. He has also hit 72.5 percent (50-of-69) from the free throw line. Desonta Bradford is second on the team in scoring at 9.8 points per game and leads the team with 70 assists.
Hanner Mosquera-Perea adds 9.1 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. The Indiana transfer is shooting 60.9 percent (53-of-87) from the field and leads the team with 20 blocked shots. David Burrell and A.J. Merriweather are tied for fourth on the team in scoring at 8.3 points per game. Tevin Banks leads the team on the glass with 5.6 rebounds per game.
Thursday’s game marks the 23rd meeting all-time between UNCG and ETSU. The Spartans trail the all-time series by a 14-8 margin, including a 1-3 mark since the Bucs returned to the Southern Conference in the 2014-15 season. UNCG and ETSU split the regular season series with the Spartans dropping two heartbreakers to the Bucs. UNCG suffered an 86-83 loss in Johnson City as T.J. Cromer hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 6.1 seconds remaining. The Spartans suffered a 68-65 loss to the Buccaneers at home in Fleming Gym in the second game of the season series. ETSU out-scored the Spartans 15-3 over the final 3:36 of the game to overcome the Spartans’ lead late.
UNCG connected on 45.1 percent (51-of-113) from the field and 43.5 percent (20-of-46) from 3-point land in the two games last year. ETSU connected on 51.4 percent (54-of-105) from the field and 58.1 percent (25-of-43) from distance in the two games. Alonso led the Spartans in the series, averaging 18.5 points per game as he shot 42.9 percent (6-of-14) from 3-point land and 86.7 percent (13-of-15) from the free throw line.
White averaged 12.5 points and 9.0 rebounds per game as he shot 78.6 percent (11-of-14) from the field. Troy added 10.0 points per game, including hitting 60 percent (6-of-10) from distance. Former Buc Ge’Lawn Guyn led ETSU in scoring at 19.5 points per game, shooting 66.7 percent (8-of-12) from 3-point land. Cromer averaged 16.5 points per game and hit 6-of-12 (50%) from distance. Former Buc Lester Wilson also hit 6-of-12 (50%) from distance while averaging 10.0 points per game against the Spartans.-- UNCG --