GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG men’s basketball team battled tough but dropped a hard fought 93-82 contest to perennial Southern Conference power Davidson Saturday night at the Greensboro Coliseum. The loss snaps the Spartans’ three-game winning streak and drops them to 3-2 in league play, while the Wildcats improve to 4-1 in SoCon action.
“Davidson is a tremendous team and has been for quite some time,” head coach Wes Miller said. “When you make mistakes or are frustrated with what happened on the last possession, they are the type of team that can really make you pay for it. Our guys played really hard and fought our way back into the game, but there were too many times we let our frustration get to us and against a team like Davidson, you can’t do that.”
Junior Nicholas Paulos (Salt Lake City, Utah/New Hampton School) set a UNCG-program record with nine consecutive makes from three-point land in the loss, finishing the game shooting a perfect 9-of-9 from distance for 27 points. His performance tops the previous record of eight straight three-pointers in a game by Kendall Toney against USC Upstate (11/24/07).
Paulos’ nine straight three-pointers made was just two shy of the NCAA Division I record of 11 held by Gary Bossert of Niagara in 1987. He has hit 10 straight long distance shots on the year after hitting his last one Thursday against The Citadel. The NCAA Division I record for consecutive makes is 15 by Todd Leslie of Northwestern in 1990 (four-game stretch). Additionally, his nine three-pointers made are tied for second most in a single game in program history (Kevin Oleksiak), trailing only his own record of 10 threes set last year at Chattanooga (2/21/13).
The physical contest saw 51 total fouls called, including 31 against the Spartans, as the two teams combined to shoot 60 free throws in 40 minutes of play. Davidson connected on 35-of-39 (89.7%) from the charity stripe in the victory while the Spartans hit 15-of-21 (71.4%) from the line.
Freshman guard Tevon Saddler (Aberdeen, Md./St. Frances Academy) scored 20 points and dished out a career-high seven assists in the loss. Saddler was just 6-of-16 from the field but hit all eight of his free throws. Junior forward Kyle Cain (Chicago, Ill./Arizona State) added 19 points and seven rebounds despite battling through foul trouble all game long.
Davidson was led by preseason SoCon Player of the Year De’Mon Brooks, who scored a game-high 24 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Brooks was 8-of-13 from the field and 8-of-10 from the free throw line. Jack Gibbs added 17 points off the bench, including 12-of-12 from the charity stripe, while Brian Sullivan added 14 points.
The Spartans came out of the gate strong against the Wildcats, holding an early 8-5 lead as Paulos hit his first three-pointer of the night. Davidson started to heat up and took advantage of the Spartans’ foul trouble, especially in the post, opening to a 25-16 lead.
UNCG showed its fight though, narrowing the gap to 28-23 as Saddler scored four straight from the free throw line. The Spartans pulled within four at 33-29 on another Paulos three-pointer but the Wildcats closed the half on a 7-3 run to take a 40-32 lead into the locker room.
The Spartans connected on 35.5 percent (11-of-31) from the field but hit 5-of-12 (41.7%) from long range. UNCG was called for 14 first half fouls and had three players with three fouls and two with two fouls apiece. Paulos led the Spartans with 12 points while Saddler added eight points. Davidson connected on 11-of-29 (37.9%) from the field and hit 14-of-15 (93.3%) from the free throw line. Brooks led the way with nine points in seven minutes as he played through foul trouble while Gibbs added nine points off the bench.
UNCG came out in the second half and scored the first five points to trim the deficit to 40-37. Sophomore forward Kayel Locke (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh) scored his first basket of the night 14 seconds into the second half while Paulos added a three-pointer off an assist from Saddler’s offensive rebound.
The Spartans kept battling as they trailed by only four at 50-46 when Saddler hit a jumper in the lane. Davidson responded to the pressure and scored 11 straight points to take a 61-45 lead with 10:20 remaining. Brooks started the run with four straight while Tyler Kalinoski added a deep three-pointer off a scrambler.
The Spartans remained behind by double figures as late as 1:14 left to play when they trailed 83-73 after two more Wildcat free throws. UNCG had one final push, posting a 7-2 run to narrow the gap to 86-80 with 43 seconds remaining. Saddler started the run with two free throws before Paulos hit his ninth three-pointer. Senior guard Drew Parker (Houston, Texas/La Porte) added two more from the line before the Spartans ran out of time as Davidson hit 7-of-8 in the last 36 seconds to secure the victory.
UNCG finished the night shooting 41.2 percent (28-of-68) from the field in the loss, but hit 11 three-pointers. The Spartans tied the Wildcats on the glass 35-35, but grabbed a season-high 15 offensive rebounds and only committed 14 turnovers.
The Spartans hit the road next week for two games, beginning Thursday night when they travel to Birmingham for a meeting against Samford. Game time is set for 8 p.m. (ET).
- UNCG -