GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG men’s basketball team has put itself in position to play for the Southern Conference regular season title on the last day of the year for the second-straight season as the Spartans host Samford at 4 p.m. at the Greensboro Coliseum. The game will be televised on the Stadium network. Fans can access the game at www.watchstadium.com and in the Greensboro area on WXLV-2 on channel 45.2 over the air. Scott Pryzwansky and Darryl Kosciak will be on the call. Prior to the game, the Spartans will honor their senior class in Riley Sigmon, CJ Coleman, Garrett Collins, Justin Jordan, Jordy Kuiper and Marvin Smith.
The Spartans enter Sunday’s game tied for first place in the SoCon standings at 14-3 with ETSU. UNCG has won seven out of its last eight games to move into the top position. The Spartans can clinch at least a share of the SoCon regular season title with a win Sunday and can win the league outright with a win and an ETSU loss. UNCG also can clinch the No. 1 overall seed in the upcoming SoCon Tournament with a win Sunday. The Spartans will hold all of the tiebreakers against ETSU with a win over Samford Sunday.
UNCG enters Sunday’s game with a 23-7 overall record and is 15-1 at home this season, including an 8-0 mark in SoCon play. The Spartans have a chance to be the only team in the SoCon this season to post a perfect 9-0 record at home in league play. UNCG is averaging 74.0 points per game this season while shooting 44.8 percent (796-of-1776) from the field and 36.2 percent (292-of-807) from 3-point land. Opponents are averaging 62.9 points per game while shooting 41.1 percent (627-of-1526) from the field and 32.4 percent (195-of-601) from distance.
Junior guard Francis Alonso (Malaga, Spain/Cushing Academy) leads the team and ranks second in the SoCon in scoring at 16.2 points per game. Alonso leads the team with 102 made 3-pointers, connecting on 42.3 percent. He is also shooting 88.1 percent (74-of-84) from the free throw line. Senior forward Marvin Smith (Richmond, Va./Fork Union Military Academy) is second on the team in scoring at 12.2 points per game while grabbing 5.4 rebounds per game. Smith is second on the team with 64 made 3-pointers, connecting on 33.2 percent from distance.
Sophomore forward James Dickey (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God) leads the SoCon on the glass grabbing 8.4 rebounds per game, including 85 offensive rebounds. Dickey adds 9.0 points per game and is shooting 54.2 percent (103-of-190) from the field. He leads the SoCon with 64 blocked shots. Freshman guard Isaiah Miller (Covington, Ga./Newton) adds 8.5 points and 3.1 rebounds per game off the bench. Miller is shooting 54.9 percent (112-of-204) from the field. Junior guard Demetrius Troy (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God) adds 7.2 points per game and has a team-high 123 assists. Troy has connected on 44 3-pointers, hitting 37.6 percent from distance. Senior forward Jordy Kuiper (Groningen, Netherlands/Canaries Basketball Academy) adds 6.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game while sophomore forward Kyrin Galloway (Milton, Ga./Milton) chips in 6.0 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.
Samford enters Sunday’s game with a 10-20 overall record and a 6-11 mark in Southern Conference play. The Bulldogs are coming off an 89-82 victory at VMI Friday night, improving to 2-14 on the road this year and 2-6 in league play. The Bulldogs are averaging 77.6 points per game but allowing 82.1 points per game against. Samford is shooting 47 percent (819-of-1742) from the field and 37.3 percent (274-of-734) from 3-point land. Opponents are shooting 48.7 percent (894-of-1834) from the field and 36.8 percent (298-of-810) from long range.
Demetrius Denzel-Dyson leads Samford in scoring at 15.1 points per game while adding 5.0 rebounds per game. Denzel-Dyson leads the team with 74 made 3-pointers, connecting on 41.3 percent. The Bulldogs have four players that have hit 38 or more 3-pointers this year. Justin Coleman is second on the team in scoring at 13.4 points per game. Coleman leads the team with 187 assists on the year. He has hit 54 3-pointers, connecting on 38 percent while shooting 80.7 percent (71-of-88) from the free throw line. Alex Thompson rounds out the Bulldogs in double figures at 11.5 points per game and has hit 38 3-pointers. Eric Adams leads the team with 6.3 rebounds per game while adding 9.4 points per game.
Sunday’s game marks the 22nd meeting all-time between UNCG and Samford. The Spartans own a slim 11-10 record all-time against the Bulldogs, winning six out of the last seven meetings. Last season, the teams split the regular season series with the road team winning each game. Earlier this year, the Spartans posted a 98-82 victory on the road at Samford. The Spartans set a UNCG single-game record for 3-point percentage, converting 76.2 percent (16-of-21) in the win, including hitting 9-of-11 (81.8%) from 3-point land in the first half as they stormed out to a 53-30 halftime lead. Alonso led five Spartans in double figures with a team-high 24 points. He led the way from distance, tying his career-high with eight 3-pointers, connecting on 88.9 percent (8-of-9) including all five of his shots in the second half. Smith added 18 points and seven rebounds as he hit 3-of-5 from 3-point land and 5-of-6 from the free throw line.
Kuiper scored a career-high 16 points while grabbing seven rebounds. Kuiper connected on 4-of-5 from 3-point land, surpassing his previous career-high of 14 points set at N.C. State. Troy dished out a career-high 11 assists as the Spartans had 25 helpers compared to just 11 for the Bulldogs. UNCG finished the game shooting 64.2 percent (34-of-53) from the field and 87.5 percent (14-of-16) from the charity stripe. The Spartans dominated the glass, out-rebounded the Bulldogs by a 37-19 margin.
Samford finished the night shooting 41.4 percent (24-of-58) from the field and 34.6 percent (9-of-26) from distance. The Bulldogs when to the free throw line 29 times, connected on 86.2 percent. Josh Starkey led the Bulldogs with 25 points on the bench, hitting 15-of-18 from the charity stripe.
-- UNCG --