GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG men’s basketball team returns to action after a nine-day layoff and opens Southern Conference play Saturday evening with a big showdown against league rival Wofford. Game time is set for 5 p.m. at the Greensboro Coliseum. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3 and the ESPN App with Scott Pryzwansky and Darryl Kosciak on the call.
The game pits two of the top teams in the SoCon against each other to open league play and the two league teams that posted wins this season against teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Spartans picked up their third win all-time against the ACC with a victory at N.C. State Dec. 16 while Wofford posted a win at home over Georgia Tech before upsetting nationally ranked North Carolina in Chapel Hill in its last game before the holiday break.
Saturday’s game marks the 21st Southern Conference opener in UNCG history. The Spartans are 10-10 in SoCon openers in program history, including a 7-2 record when opening league play at home. Last year, the Spartans opened the SoCon season with a 95-87 victory at The Citadel in Charleston. UNCG and Wofford have met five times in SoCon openers in program history, with Wofford holding a 3-2 record in those games. The home team has won all five games in such instances. The Terries won games in Spartanburg in 2015-16, 2010-11 and 2007-08 while UNCG won games in Greensboro during the 2006-07 and 2004-05 seasons.
Saturday’s game marks the 29th meeting all-time between UNCG and Wofford. The Spartans trail the all-time series by a 25-13 margin but won two out of three over the Terriers, including the last two meetings. The Spartans opened the regular season series with a 93-74 loss on the road in Spartanburg. UNCG turned the tables later in the year, posting a 74-55 victory over the Terriers at the Greensboro Coliseum. The Spartans took the rubber game of the series and ended the Terriers’ season with a 77-73 victory in the semifinal round of the Southern Conference Tournament.
In three games last year, UNCG averaged 75.0 points per game while shooting 50 percent (81-of-162) from the field and 32.7 percent (18-of-55) form 3-point land against the Terriers. Former Spartans Diante Baldwin and R.J. White led UNCG against Wofford in the three games, averaging 21.3 and 16.0 points per game, respectively. Guard Francis Alonso (Malaga, Spain/Cushing Academy) averaged 12.0 points per game while hitting 17-of-18 (94.4%) from the free throw line. Wofford averaged 73.7 points per game while shooting 44.7 percent (76-of-170) from the field and 38.2 percent (26-of-68) from distance in the three games. Fletcher Magee led the Terriers averaging 17.7 points per game, including 11-of-25 (44%) from 3-point land. Cameron Jackson averaged 16.0 points while Eric Garcia added 10.0 points and 10.0 assists per game.
Saturday’s game pits one of the nation’s top teams defending the 3-point line in UNCG and one of the nation’s top teams shooting from the 3-point line in Wofford. UNCG leads the Southern Conference and ranks eighth in the nation holding opponents to just 27.8 percent (69-of-248) from distance. The Spartans have only allowed one team (Wake Forest) shooting over 37 percent from 3-point land this season in a game. Wofford ranks fourth in the nation at 43.7 percent shooting from deep at 128-of-293. The Terriers only have three games this season when they have shot under 40 percent from deep (South Carolina, Texas Tech and North Carolina) and only one game under 30 percent (Texas Tech).
UNCG enters Saturday’s game with a 9-4 overall record and a 7-1 mark at home. The Spartans have won five out of their last six games entering Southern Conference play. UNCG is averaging 74.6 points per game while holding opponents to a SoCon-best 61.5 points per game. The Spartans are shooting 45 percent (348-of-774) from the field and 36.5 percent (133-of-364) from 3-point land. UNCG is holding opponents to 41.2 percent (265-of-643) from the field and just 27.8 percent (69-of-248) from 3-point land. In fact, UNCG ranks 14th in the nation in 3-point field goals allowed at just 69 in 13 games.
Alonso leads eight Spartans averaging at least 5.0 points per game on the year. He leads the team and ranks third in the SoCon in scoring at 17.8 points per game. He leads the team and ranks second in the league with 48 made 3-pointers, connecting on 45.3 percent. Alonso also leads the team with 40 free throw attempts and is second on the team with 41 assists. Senior forward Marvin Smith (Richmond, Va./Fork Union Military Academy) is second on the team in scoring at 11.5 points per game and fourth on the team on the glass grabbing 4.7 rebounds per game. Smith ranks second on the team with 27 made 3-pointers, hitting 34.2 percent from deep.
Sophomore forward James Dickey (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God) leads the team and the SoCon with 8.7 rebounds per game, including 40 offensive rebounds. Dickey adds 8.1 points per game and is shooting 52 percent (39-of-75) from the field. Freshman Isaiah Miller (Covington, Ga./Newton) is fourth on the team in scoring at 7.8 points per game despite coming off the bench in every game this year. Miller is shooting 52.4 percent (44-of-84) from the field while leading the team with 20 steals.
Junior guard Demetrius Troy (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God) leads the team with 43 assists and averages 7.0 points per game. Troy is third on the team with 18 made 3-pointers. Senior forward Jordy Kuiper (Groningen, Netherlands/Canaries Basketball Academy) is second on the team with 5.7 rebounds per game while adding 6.8 points per game. Kuiper is shooting 37.8 percent (17-of-45) from 3-point land.
Wofford enters Saturday’s game with an 8-4 overall record and a 2-3 mark on the road. The Terriers have won five-straight games and are coming off the biggest win in program history with a 79-75 victory at North Carolina. Wofford has also picked up wins this year against Washington & Lee, Bob Jones, North Florida, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Tech, Johnson & Wales and High Point. The Terriers have dropped games to South Carolina, California, Texas Tech and UNC Asheville. Wofford is averaging 77.2 points per game while shooting 48.3 percent (327-of-677) from the field and 43.7 percent (128-of-293) from 3-point land. Opponents are averaging 70.7 points per game while shooting 46.2 percent (295-of-639) from the field and 38.2 percent (92-of-241) from distance.
Fletcher Magee leads the team and the SoCon in scoring at 24.3 points per game. Magee is on a record-setting shooting campaign so far this year, connecting on 54.9 percent (56-of-102) from 3-point land and hitting 32-of-32 from the free throw line this season. He ranks fourth in the nation in 3-point percentage and leads the country averaging 4.67 3-pointers made per game. Forward Cameron Jackson is second on the team in scoring at 12.4 points per game while leading the team with 6.5 rebounds per game. Jackson is shooting 56.4 percent (57-of-101) from the field this season and has posted 14 blocked shots.
Nathan Hoover is third on the team in scoring at 10.6 points per game. Hoover is second on the team with 27 made 3-pointers, hitting 40.9 percent. Freshman Storm Murphy leads the team with 44 assists and is chipping in 4.6 points per game. Matthew Pegram averages 8.1 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.
-- UNCG --