Men's Basketball Hosts SoCon-Leading ETSU Monday Night In Pivotal Game
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Monday night at the Greensboro Coliseum will pit the top two teams in the Southern Conference against each other as the second-place UNCG men’s basketball team and the first-place ETSU Buccaneers meet up for the second time this season. Game time is set for 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN3 and the ESPN App with Scott Pryzwansky and Darryl Kosciak on the call.
Monday’s game will be the Spartans’ annual Blackout game where fans are encouraged to wear black in support of the Spartans. The first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive a free black UNCG t-shirt. Additionally, the first 500 UNCG students will get a free Bojangles tailgate in the Greensboro Coliseum courtesy of UNCG CAP.
The Spartans enter Monday’s game with a 19-6 overall record and a 10-2 mark in SoCon play. UNCG is alone in second place in the conference standings, two games behind ETSU. The Bucs enter the game with the nation’s longest active winning streak, having won 16-straight games. ETSU owns a 22-4 overall record and is a perfect 13-0 in SoCon play this season.
UNCG is also 13-1 at home this year with its lone loss coming Dec. 19 against UNC Asheville. The 13 wins ties the program record for a single season while the Spartans’ 19 overall wins are sixth most in a single-season. The Spartans are averaging 73.7 points per game while shooting 44.5 percent (654-of-1469) from the field and 35.5 percent (241-of-678) from 3-point land. Opponents are averaging 62.8 points per game and shooting 41.6 percent (520-of-1250) from the field and 31.6 percent (156-of-493) from deep. The Spartans rank ninth overall in NCAA Division I in scoring defense.
Junior guard Francis Alonso (Malaga, Spain/Cushing Academy) leads the Spartans in scoring at 16.4 points per game. Alonso leads the team with 86 made 3-pointers, connecting on 42.6 percent from deep. He is second on the team with 77 assists and is shooting 87.7 (64-of-73) from the free throw line. Senior forward Marvin Smith (Richmond, Va./Fork Union Military Academy) is second on the team in scoring at 12.3 points per game while grabbing 5.4 rebounds per game. Smith is second on the team with 51 3-pointers, shooting 32.3 percent from beyond the arc.
Sophomore forward James Dickey (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God) leads the SoCon on the glass, grabbing 8.4 caroms per game while adding 8.8 points per game. Dickey is shooting 52.9 percent (83-of-157) from the field. Freshman guard Isaiah Miller (Covington, Ga./Newton) adds 7.9 points per game off the bench while also leading the team with 35 steals. Senior forward Jordy Kuiper (Groningen, Netherlands/Canaries Basketball Academy) chips in 7.1 points and 4.6 rebounds per game while shooting 35.7 percent (30-of-84) from deep. Junior guard Demetrius Troy (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God) leads the team with 100 assists and adds 6.6 points per game.
ETSU enters Monday’s game carrying the nation’s longest winning streak at 16-straight games. The Bucs have not lost since a 68-66 decision at Xavier December 16. ETSU owns a 22-4 overall record and a perfect 13-0 mark in league play entering Monday’s game. The Bucs are 10-3 on the road this season, tied for the nation lead in road wins. The Bucs are averaging 77.4 points per game while shooting 48 percent (720-of-1499) from the field and 35.2 percent (198-of-562) from 3-point land. Opponents are averaging 65.2 points per game while shooting just 39.6 percent (593-of-1497) from the field and 31.1 percent (185-of-595) from deep.
Desonta Bradford leads ETSU in almost every category as the senior guard averages 15.2 points per game. Bradford adds 5.8 rebounds per game and leads the team with 92 assists and 46 steals. He is second on the team with 31 made 3-pointers, hitting 31.1 percent. Jalan McCloud is second on the team in scoring at 12.4 points per game. McCloud is third on the team with 24 made 3-pointers, hitting at 38.7 percent. Devontavius Payne leads the team with 53 made 3-pointers, adding 9.5 points per game. Bo Hodges adds 8.9 points per game while Peter Jurkin chips in 8.1 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.
Monday’s game marks the 27th meeting all-time between UNCG and ESTU. The Spartans trail the all-time series by a 16-10 margin and are 3-5 against the Bucs since ETSU returned to the SoCon for the 2014-15 season. Over the last eight meetings, the teams have been separated by just 34 total points with seven of the eight games being decided by six or less points and four of the games by just three points or less. Earlier this year, UNCG suffered a 68-58 loss to ETSU in Johnson City. The Spartans connected on only 33.3 percent (21-of-63) from the field and just 29.2 percent (7-of-24) from 3-point land in the loss. UNCG kept itself in the game by grabbing 18 offensive rebounds and forcing the Bucs into 14 turnovers in the loss. ETSU finished the game shooting 52.2 percent (24-of-46) from the field and hit 17-of-26 (65.4%) from the free throw line in the victory.
Senior guard Marvin Smith led three Spartans in double figures with 11 points and nine rebounds as he hit 2-of-6 from 3-point land. Junior guard Francis Alonso was held to 10 points on 4-of-11 shooting as he played through foul trouble for most of the night. Sophomore forward Kyrin Galloway added 10 points off the bench, including a pair of 3-pointers. Jalan McCloud led ETSU with 15 points as four different Bucs scored in double figures. Mladen Armus scored 13 points in 19 minutes off the bench, as he was 5-of-6 from the field while Desonta Bradford finished with 12 points and nine rebounds.
-- UNCG --