GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG men’s basketball team wraps up the 2013-14 regular season with two straight road games, beginning Thursday night when the Spartans travel to Southern Conference leading and perennial power Davidson. Game time at Belk Arena is set for 7 p.m. on the Davidson senior night. The game will be radio broadcast on 1320 WCOG AM and online at www.uncgspartans.com with Cabell Philpott and Darryl Kosciak providing the call. Additionally, the game will be video streamed by Davidson for a fee of $5.95.
Heading into the final two regular season games, the Spartans are jockeying for seeding in the upcoming Southern Conference Tournament in Asheville. UNCG currently sits in sole possession of sixth place in the standings and can finish anywhere from the No. 6-8 seeds in the tournament. Only The Citadel has secured its seed (No. 11) and the remaining 10 seeds are still up for grabs. The top five seeds in the tournament receive byes and Davidson, Elon, Wofford, Western Carolina and Chattanooga have already secured those five spots.
The Spartans hold a one-game lead on Samford and Georgia Southern for the sixth seed with just two games remaining. UNCG does not hold the tiebreaker against Samford if the teams finished tied due to head-to-head outcome. Currently, the Spartans also do not hold the tiebreaker against Georgia Southern due to strength of victory by GSU but the Spartans have the opportunity to secure that tiebreaker with a win in one of the last two regular season games.
The Spartans enter Thursday’s game with a 13-16 overall record and a 6-8 mark in SoCon play. UNCG is coming off an 88-84 victory over Chattanooga Sunday afternoon. The Spartans rallied from a 10-point first half deficit and closed the half on a 17-3 run to take the halftime lead before holding off the Mocs down the stretch. Junior forward Kyle Cain (Chicago, Ill./Arizona State) led the way with his 11th double-double of the season with a career-high 24 points and 10 rebounds.
Cain leads the team in scoring on the year at 15.8 points per game and on the glass at 9.2 rebounds per game. He has scored in double figures in 26 of 29 games this year, including 19 points against Davidson in the first meeting this season. Freshman guard Tevon Saddler (Aberdeen, Md./St. Frances Academy) is second on the team in scoring at 12.5 points per game, which ranks second among all freshmen in the league. Saddler also leads the Spartans in assists (85), steals (38), free throws made (134), free throws attempted (201) and blocked shots (14) while also grabbing 4.0 rebounds per game.
Sophomore forward Kayel Locke (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh) rounds out the Spartans in double figures scoring on the year. Locke averages 11.6 points per game and is coming off a 12-point showing off the bench against Chattanooga. Junior Nicholas Paulos (Salt Lake City, Utah/New Hampton School) leads the team with 67 three-pointers while redshirt freshman center R.J. White (Frisco, Texas/Frisco) has averaged 10.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game in the month of February.
Davidson enters Thursday’s game with a 17-11 overall record and a 13-1 mark in Southern Conference play. The Wildcats have won 10 straight games and can clinch their third straight SoCon regular season championship with a win Thursday. Davidson is 7-4 at home this season and is averaging 77.7 points per game on the year and allowing 73.2 points per game against. The Wildcats are averaging 8.1 three-pointers made per game.
De’Mon Brooks, the preseason Player of the Year selection, leads Davidson in scoring at 18.3 points per game and on the glass at 6.8 rebounds per game. Brooks is shooting 58.3 percent (137-of-235) from the field and 74.2 percent (118-of-159) from the free throw line this season. Brian Sullivan is second on the team in scoring at 12.9 points per game and leads the team with 74 three-pointers made.
Tom Droney is third on the team in scoring at 11.1 points per game while Tyler Kalinoski also chips in 11.1 points per game. Kalinoski is one of five Davidson players with at least 20 three-pointers made this season with 50.
Thursday’s game marks the 33rd meeting all-time between UNCG and Davidson, dating back to the first meeting February 7, 1998. The Spartans trail the all-time series by a 9-23 mark, including just a 2-13 mark over the last 15 encounters. Earlier this season, UNCG suffered a hard-fought 93-82 loss to the Wildcats at the Greensboro Coliseum ... Davidson was strong from the free throw line in the victory, hitting 35-of-39 (89.7%) from the line compared to just 15-of-21 (71.4%) for the Spartans
Paulos led the Spartans with a record-setting performance, as he was a perfect 9-of-9 from three-point land in the loss for a team-high 27 points. Saddler added 29 points and seven assists, as he was 8-of-8 from the free throw line while Cain chipped in 19 points and seven rebounds. Brooks led Davidson with 24 points and eight rebounds, as he was 8-of-13 from the field and 8-of-10 from the free throw line. Jack Gibbs came off the bench to score 14 points, as he was a perfect 12-of-12 from the free throw line while Sullivan added 14 points.
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