GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG men’s basketball team looks to bounce back from its first Southern Conference loss of the season as it wraps up a three-game road stretch Saturday night when the Spartans travel to Cullowhee, N.C., for a meeting against Western Carolina. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. at the Ramsey Center. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3 and the ESPN App with Daniel Hooker and Jeff Bryson on the call. Additionally, Scotty Pryzwansky will provide an audio call on the TuneIn App Saturday.
The Spartans are coming off their first league loss of the year, dropping a 68-58 contest at ETSU Thursday night. UNCG held a 5-point second half lead before the Bucs posted a game-changing run, aided by the Spartans shooting just 33.3 percent (21-of-63) from the field and 29.2 percent (7-of-24) from 3-point land. Senior forward Marvin Smith (Richmond, Va./Fork Union Military Academy) led three in double figures with 11 points and nine rebounds while sophomore Kyrin Galloway (Milton, Ga./Milton) scored 10 points off the bench, including a pair of 3-pointers.
UNCG enters Saturday’s game with an 11-5 overall record and a 2-1 mark in Southern Conference play. The Spartans have picked up league wins over Wofford and VMI while falling to ETSU last time out. UNCG has won seven out of its last nine games, having its three-game winning streak snapped Thursday night. The Spartans are averaging 72.6 points per game while holding opponents to a league-best 62.2 points per game. UNCG is shooting 43.9 percent (415-of-946) from the field and 36 percent (158-of-439) from 3-point land. Opponents are shooting 42 percent (333-of-792) from the field and just 30 percent (91-of-303) from deep.
Junior guard Francis Alonso (Malaga, Spain/Cushing Academy) leads the team in scoring and ranks third in the SoCon at 17.9 points per game. Alonso is shooting 45 percent from 3-point land, connecting on 59-of-131. He is also hitting 88.2 percent (45-of-51) from the free throw line and has handed out 45 assists. Smith is second on the team in scoring at 10.9 points per game while grabbing 5.0 rebounds per game. He is second on the team with 30 made 3-pointers, connecting on 31.9 percent from deep.
Sophomore forward James Dickey (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God) leads the team and the SoCon on the glass grabbing 8.4 rebounds per game, including a conference-best 54 offensive rebounds. Dickey also adds 8.5 points per game and is shooting 47.6 percent (50-of-105) from the field. Freshman guard Isaiah Miller (Covington, Ga./Newton) adds 7.1 points per game off the bench as he is shooting 49-of-90 (54.4%) on 2-point field goals. Junior guard Demetrius Troy (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God) leads the team with 54 assists while averaging 6.3 points per game. Troy has hit 19 3-pointers this year. Senior forward Jordy Kuiper (Groningen, Netherlands/Canaries Basketball Academy) chips in 6.1 points per game and grabs 5.4 rebounds per contest.
Western Carolina enters Saturday’s game with a 7-9 overall record and a 3-1 mark in Southern Conference play. The Catamounts have picked up wins over The Citadel, Chattanooga and most recently Mercer while falling at Samford. WCU is 3-1 at home this season with wins over Hiawassee, Appalachian State and Mercer while falling to High Point. The Catamounts are averaging 67.9 points per game while shooting 39.5 percent (385-of-974) from the field and 34.5 percent (123-of-357) from 3-point land. Opponents are averaging 78.3 points per game while shooting 47.6 percent (427-of-897) from the field and 37.6 percent (135-of-359) from deep.
Junior college transfer Mike Amius leads the team in scoring at 12.1 points per game and is second on the glass at 5.2 rebounds per game. Amius is shooting 53.4 percent (71-of-133) from the field and 69.9 percent (51-of-73) from the free throw line. Deriece Parks is second on the team in scoring at 9.9 points per game and second on the team with 44 assists. Parks is shooting 33.7 percent (34-of-101) from 3-point land. Matt Halvorsen is third on the team in scoring at 9.6 points per game and leads the team with 37 made 3-pointers, hitting at 35.6 percent. Marc Gosselin leads the team with 5.9 rebounds per game while adding 8.1 points per game.
Saturday’s game marks the 52nd meeting all-time between UNCG and Western Carolina. The Spartans trail the all-time series by a 19-32 margin but have won three-straight in the series, including sweeping the regular season series last season. UNCG posted a 76-57 victory over the Catamounts in Greensboro and recorded a 76-68 victory in Cullowhee. The win at Western Carolina marked the Spartans’ first win in Cullowhee since 2008 and is only the fourth win all-time in the series for UNCG on the road. Last year, UNCG averaged 76.0 points per game against the Catamounts shooting 52.4 percent (55-of-108) from the field and 46.5 percent (20-of-43) from 3-point land. Western Carolina averaged 62.5 points per game while shooting 37.9 percent (50-of-132) from the field and 25.9 percent (7-of-27) from deep in the two games. In two games, WCU grabbed 35 offensive rebounds against the Spartans.
Alonso averaged 22.5 points per game last year against the Catamounts. Alonso connected on 62.5 percent (15-of-24) from the field and 56.3 percent (9-of-16) from 3-point land. Dickey averaged 8.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game off the bench against WCU, connecting on 87.5 percent (7-of-8) from the field. Haboubacar Mutombo led the Catamounts last season averaging 15.5 points per game against the Spartans, shooting 58.3 percent (14-of-24) from the field. Devin Peterson added 12.0 points per game while Adam Sledd scored 8.0 points and grabbed 6.0 rebounds per game.
-- UNCG --