PISCATAWAY, N.J. – The UNCG men’s basketball team dug itself into a 19-point halftime deficit it could not overcome as the Spartans dropped an 89-72 contest to Rutgers Saturday afternoon at the Rutgers Athletic Center (RAC). The Spartans rallied in the second half to trim the deficit to single digits, but could not mount the complete comeback.
Junior forward Kyle Cain (Chicago, Ill./Arizona State) paced three Spartans in double figures in the loss, scoring 18 points and grabbing a game-high eight rebounds. Cain was 8-of-15 from the field in the loss, despite battling through foul trouble in the first half. Freshman Tevon Saddler (Aberdeen, Md./St. Frances Academy) added 13 points, including eight in the second half, while sophomore Kayel Locke (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh) chipped in 11 points.
The Spartans connected on 43.5 percent (27-of-62) from the field in the loss and 38.9 percent (7-of-18) from three-point land. UNCG committed 18 turnovers Saturday, 14 of which came in the first half, as Rutgers scored 26 points off those miscues.
Rutgers (5-7) finished the night shooting 50 percent (31-of-62) from the field and 45 percent (9-of-20) from three-point land. Myles Mack led the way with 21 points and eight assists, as he was 6-of-11 from the field, 4-of-6 from three-point land and 5-of-6 from the free throw line. Kadeem Jack added 18 points while Wally Judge finished with 13 points.
The Spartans and Scarlet Knights traded baskets in the early going with Cain leading the way with eight early points. Rutgers took an 18-8 lead as Judge scored five straight points, taking advantage of three straight UNCG turnovers. The Spartans slowed the run and notched a 10-5 spurt to make it a 23-18 contest as they scored in the paint with baskets from Cain, Locke and redshirt freshman R.J. White (Frisco, Texas/Frisco).
Rutgers responded with a barrage of three-point shot, scoring 13 straight and closing the half on a 19-6 run to take a 52-33 lead into the locker room. Mack led the way with 11 points during the closing run, including three three-pointers, including a pair back-to-back from long range.
UNCG finished the first half shooting 43.3 percent (13-of-30) from the field and 40 percent (4-of-10) from three-point land in the first half. The Spartans were done in by committing 14 first half turnovers and being called for 12 fouls in the opening 20 minutes as three different players had three fouls apiece. Sophomore Jordan Potts (Columbus, Ohio/Northland) led the Spartans with nine points off the bench as he was 3-of-5 from long range while Cain had eight points, all in the first nine minutes before getting into foul trouble.
Rutgers scored a season-high 52 points in the first half as it connected on 54.5 percent (18-of-33) from the field and 5-of-11 (45.5%) from long range. The Scarlet Knights also connected on 11-of-15 free throws while UNCG only attempted five from the charity stripe. Mack led all scorers with 14 points as he hit 3-of-3 from distance while Moore added 12 points off the bench.
Rutgers kept the Spartans at bay for the first eight minutes of the second half, holding a 67-44 lead as Jerome Seagears hit a three-pointer. UNCG showed some fight down the stretch as it posted an 18-4 run to narrow the gap to 71-62 with 4:56 left in the game. The Spartans turned to the duo of Cain and Saddler during the run as they combined for 12 points during the stretch. Cain scored eight points in the run while Saddler added four. Junior Nicholas Paulos (Salt Lake City, Utah/New Hampton School) also hit a three-pointer in the spurt. The Spartans were looking for stop on the ensuing possessions, but Rutgers responded with nine straight points, including a three-pointer from Craig Brown on the fast break.
The Spartans return to action Wednesday night as they host James Madison at the Greensboro Coliseum. Game time is set for 7 p.m.
- UNCG -