GREENSBORO, NC – Sophomore forward Kyle Hines had 16 points, nine rebounds, five blocks and five steals, including the clincher with two seconds left, as UNC Greensboro nipped Appalachian State, 62-60, in Southern Conference men’s basketball action at Fleming Gym.
Hines’ fifth steal of the night sealed the win for UNCG (9-10, 2-3 SoCon). UNCG led by two after Ricky Hickman knocked down the first of two free throws with 4.1 seconds to play. Hickman missed the second and the Mountaineers called timeout after grabbing the rebound with 2.6 seconds to play.
The long entry pass by Doug McLaughlin-Williams was intercepted by the long-armed Hines and time expired.
Hickman, a junior from Kernersville, NC, led the Spartans with 18 points, his 17th straight game in double figures. Kevin Oleksiak also added 10 points for UNCG, his 16th double-scoring effort of the season.
Appalachian State got most of its scoring from the backcourt duo of Demetrius Scott and D.J. Thompson. Scott had 24 points and Thompson added 22 points to account for 46 of the Mountaineers’ 60 points.
UNCG rallied from a five-point halftime deficit, the first time this season that the Spartans have won when trailing at the half. Each of UNCG’s 10 previous losses came when trailing at intermission.
UNCG came out to score seven of the first nine points to start the second half, capped off by a 3-pointer by Oleksiak, to tie the game at 36-36.
The lead see-sawed for a while from there with six lead changes and seven ties over the next 12 minutes. UNCG gained a five-point advantage with just over five minutes to play with a 6-0 run, but Appalachian scored four straight to close back within one.
The game remained tight after that, although the Spartans never surrendered the lead. Two free throws by Hickman with 1:40 to play gave UNCG a three-point lead, 60-57. Hickman missed a three-pointer with 48 seconds left, giving Appalachian State a chance to tie. Thompson came off a ball screen to get an open 3-pointer from the top of the key, but could not get it to go down.
Hines was fouled on the rebound and made one of two to make it a four-point game. Demetrius Scott, however, answered with a 3-pointer from the left wing with 5.7 seconds left and Appalachian State immediately called a timeout to set its defense.
After the Spartans needed to use a timeout on their first attempt to get the ball in-bounds, Hickman got fouled on the second in-bounds attempt. He hit one out of two with 4.1 seconds left, leaving the door open for one last chance by the Mountaineers. However, Hines stole the long in-bounds to give UNCG its second conference win of the year and drop Appalachian State to 1-4 in league play and 7-11 overall.
“We played better perimeter defense tonight, I thought,” said UNCG coach Mike Dement. “I wish we could have a few more free throws there, but we did a better job of hustling after some loose balls in the second half.”
UNCG missed 12 of its first 15 shots from the field to start the contest as Appalachian State opened up an eight-point advantage, 18-10, midway through the first half. But UNCG found its feet, using its defense to get the offense started. The Spartans held Appalachian State scoreless on its next five possessions and turned it into four straight transition buckets to tie the game with six minutes left in the first half.
By the end of the half, however, the Mountaineer duo of Scott and Thompson combined for 28 of Appalachian State’s 34 points to give the Mountaineers a 34-29 lead at the break.
SIDELINES: UNCG came into Saturday’s game having surrendered 82 3-pointers in its last eight games with the opposition shooting 47 percent from three-point range during that span. The Spartans did a much better job defending the perimeter on Saturday, holding the Mountaineers to just 4-of-13 from behind the three-point line, including a 2-for-8 night by Thompson... Appalachian State played without Nathan Cranford, who sat on the bench in street clothes with crutches... The Spartans are one of 23 teams in the country with four players averaging 30 or more minutes per contest and the only squad in the conference with that stat. Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Oleksiak, Ricky Hickman and Kyle Hines all average more than 30 minutes per ball game. Hines is actually second in the conference in minutes played (behind College of Charleston’s Dontaye Draper) and Hickman is fourth... Hickman was just 1-of-8 from 3-point range, but extended his consecutive games with a 3-pointer streak to 14 straight... Someone has swept this season series eight of the last nine seasons. The only split since the two teams became conference rivals was in 2003-04... UNCG has now won three straight in the series
UNCG 62, APPALACHIAN STATE 60
APPALACHIAN STATE (7-11, 1-4 SoCon)
Scott, Demetrius 8-13 6-7 24; Thompson, D.J. 7-14 6-7 22; Henderson, P.L. 4-5 0-0 8; Clayton, Jeremy 1-3 1-2 3; Jackson, Jarvis 0-1 1-2 1; Webb, Tyler 0-1 1-2 1; McLaughlin-Williams 0-1 1-2 1; Bermudez, Eduardo 0-4 0-1 0; Harper, Jeremy 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-42 16-23 60.
UNCG (9-10, 2-3 SoCon)
Hickman, Ricky 7-18 3-4 18; Hines, Kyle 5-10 6-9 16; Oleksiak, Kevin 3-6 3-5 10; McClenny, David 2-4 4-4 9; Tooms, Bart 2-4 0-0 4; Johnson, Dwayne 0-3 3-4 3; Simmons, Everson 1-3 0-0 2; Boddie, Devin 0-0 0-0 0; Beckford, Brian 0-0 0-0 0; Akinosho, Matt 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-48 19-26 62.
Halftime: Appalachian State 34-29. 3-point goals-Appalachian State 4-13 (Scott, Demetrius 2-2; Thompson, D.J. 2-8; Jackson, Jarvis 0-1; Bermudez, Eduardo 0-2), UNCG 3-18 (McClenny, David 1-2; Oleksiak, Kevin 1-3; Hickman, Ricky 1-8; Johnson, Dwayne 0-2; Simmons, Everson 0-2; Tooms, Bart 0-1). Fouled out--Appalachian State-None, UNCG-None. Rebounds-Appalachian State 28 (Thompson, D.J. 5; Henderson, P.L. 5), UNCG 30 (Hines, Kyle 9). Assists-Appalachian State 5 (Thompson, D.J. 2), UNCG 8 (Oleksiak, Kevin 3). Total fouls-Appalachian State 25, UNCG 17. A-1550.
- UNCG -