GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNC Greensboro men’s basketball began its 2018-19 season by defeating North Carolina A&T 74-66 at the Corbett Sports Center. After going into halftime down 38-39, the Spartans were propelled by a strong second half defensive effort, taking over the lead and not looking back.
“I really liked the way they got after it, especially for those hustle and effort plays,” said Head Coach Wes Miller, referring to the second half performance. “We’re a long way away from being a good team, but it was good to see them compete together and find a way to win.”
The Spartans and Aggies battled throughout a tight first half, as the two Greensboro schools exchanged the lead 11 times. In the first 20 minutes, senior guard Francis Alonso led all scorers with 14 points, as he was 5-for-7 from the field with two of those makes coming from three-point territory.
In that opening frame, Alonso became just the sixth player in Southern Conference history to hit 300 career three pointers. Additionally, Alonso moved up to sixth all-time in program history in points scored, surpassing Kayel Locke.
While the Spartans were able to use their size to their advantage, outscoring the Aggies 24-14 in the paint, North Carolina A&T made 6-of-11 three pointers attempted in the first half to take a one-point lead into the break.
UNCG, however, ramped up the defensive intensity in the second half which resulted in an eight-point victory in the season opener. In the second half, the Aggies were pushed into five second half turnovers while shooting just 36 percent from the field.
Offensively, Isaiah Miller gave the Spartans a boost with three highlight dunks as the lead was extended to double-digits at times.
The Spartans will return to action on Friday evening against No. 23 LSU at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, La. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. and the game will be streamed on SECN+.
The meeting will be the first-ever between the Spartans and Tigers. In the contest, UNCG will be seeking its first victory over an SEC opponent and the first against a team ranked in the AP Top 25.
News and Notes
--Three different Spartans made their debuts on Tuesday evening in freshmen Angelo Allegri and Kaleb Hunter along with junior transfer Eric Hamilton. Hunter, who redshirted last season as he continued to recover from an injury suffered in high school, was third on the team in scoring with 11 points. Hamilton, meanwhile, contributed six points, two rebounds and one block. “Our new guys, it’s going to be a process,” Miller said. “They’re really gifted. I think Kaleb Hunter was terrific in limited minutes.”
--James Dickey was one block shy of tying his career high in the category, swatting seven North Carolina A&T shots. Additionally, he moved into 10th place all-time in career rebounds at 532.
--Alonso’s 23-point effort was his 27th career 20-point game while he led the Spartans in scoring for the 43rd time.
--Miller’s 16 points were tied for the third-most in a game in his career.
-- UNCG –