GREENSBORO, NC – Casey Long’s 3-pointer with 2:31 to play was the big blow in a late 7-0 run that pushed Chattanooga to a 76-67 win over UNC Greensboro in Southern Conference men’s basketball action at Fleming Gym on Saturday night.
Steve Cherry led all scorers with a career-high 19 points, one of four Mocs in double figures. Ricky Hood added 15 points, including 9-for-11 from the line. He was 7-for-8 at the line in the final 1:22, with the lone miss resulting in a key offensive rebound by the Mocs (15-11, 6-5 SoCon).
Sophomore forward Kyle Hines scored 15 of his 16 points in the first half to lead UNCG’s scoring. After going 7-for-8 from the field in the first half, Hines did not attempt a shot in the second half, mostly because of foul trouble. Hines also had a big first half in the loss at Chattanooga earlier this season, scoring 19 of his 23 in the first 20 minutes. The Mocs were able to neutralize him that day. His fourth foul did on Saturday.
“Kyle hasn’t gotten in a lot of foul trouble this season and I think our guys were a little shaken,” said UNCG coach Mike Dement. “But Matt Akinosho gave us a great lift, got a couple of baskets and couple of rebounds, and we should have been fine.”
UNCG’s Ricky Hickman added 15 points, including the 1000th of his career with a pair of free throws at the 4:10 mark. He is the 13th player in school history to surpass the milestone and just the fifth to do so as a junior. He also extended his streak of games with 10 or more points to 23 straight. However, Hickman shot just 4-for-18 from the field, including 2-of-13 from behind the three-point arc.
Kevin Oleksiak also had 15 points and David McClenny added 10 points for the Spartans (11-14, 4-7 SoCon).
“You look at the box score and you hold (Keddric) Mays to 0-for-7 from the field, you should feel pretty good about your chances,” said Dement. “But we gave up too many offensive rebounds (18).”
The Mocs used a 10-2 run to open up an early six-point advantage, 14-8, as Steve Cherry scored eight of Chattanooga’s first 11 points. But UNCG used a 8-2 spurt of its own, capped by a 3-pointer by David McClenny from the right wing, to knot the score at 19-19 midway through the first half.
Chattanooga held a small margin for most of the remainder of the half, but the Spartans came up with a big play as time expired. Kyle Hines was whistled for a foul with 6.3 seconds left, which resulted in an in-bounds under the basket. Kevin Oleksiak intercepted the in-bounds play near mid-court, and fed it to Hines, who raced in for a dunk just before the buzzer to tie it at 31-31.
Both teams started out slow in the second half, but the Mocs were able to forge a lead. Chattanooga opened up a five-point lead after a 3-pointer by Jerice Crouch with 14:55 left. Nearly two minutes later, Khalil Hartwell scooped up a loose ball and layed it in to give the Mocs a 43-36 lead with 12:56 to play.
Both teams began to have big man foul problems. UNCG lost Hines to his fourth foul with 12:14 to play, while Chattanooga’s Nicchaeus Doaks fouled out with 11:20 to play to make the Mocs already thin front line a little thinner.
Akinosho, who had recorded just one field goal since the middle of December, stepped up with five points and two rebounds in the next four minutes after Hines went to the bench to keep the Spartans in it.
Ricky Hickman gave UNCG a brief lead, 51-49, with a three-pointer from the top of the key with 8:15 left. But Chattanooga scored the next five points to take a three-point lead, forcing UNCG to bring Hines back with 6:43 to play.
UNCG cut the margin to two before the Mocs ran off seven straight to take a 63-54 lead with 2:10 to go. The big blow in the run came on Long’s three-pointer with 2:31 to play.
Oleksiak knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key to cut it to six with 1:23 left. After a UNCG foul, Hood made just one of two, but Hartwell got a hand on the rebound and Hood gathered it in to go back to the line and seal the win. Hartwell had a career-high 11 rebounds to go along with seven points, a big lift in place of Doaks.
The Spartans now must go back on the road for three straight games. UNCG, looking to snap an eight-game road losing streak, will first step out of conference for its BracketBusters Pool matchup against St. Peter’s next Saturday at 3 pm.
SIDELINES: Both teams coaches’ wore sneakers to go with their suits as a part of the NABC’s Coaches versus Cancer recognition. Coaches around the country left their dress shoes home and laced up their sneakers on the sidelines this weekend...Entering Saturday night’s game, UNCG was holding the opposition to 37.9 percent from the floor in its 11 wins. But that number goes up to 49.4 percent in its 13 losses... Hines has now scored in double figures in 15 consecutive games... Hickman’s 3-pointer with 8:15 left in the game extended his streak to 21 consecutive games with a 3-pointer. It was the second straight game that the streak wasn’t extended until the latter part of the game... It may have only been fitting that Hickman got his 1,000th career point at the free throw line. He has gone there 387 times in his UNCG career, ranking seventh in school history... UNCG is 8-1 this season when it holds opponents under 42 percent from the floor. On Saturday, Chattanooga shot 42.4 percent (25-59)... Chattanooga’s win keeps it in the hunt for one of the five SoCon Tournament byes, while the Spartans' hopes got very slim with the loss.
CHATTANOOGA 76, UNCG 67
CHATTANOOGA (15-11, SoCon 6-5)
CHERRY, Steve 8-14 3-4 19; HOOD, Ricky 3-7 9-11 15; LONG, Casey 2-7 5-6 11; CROUCH, Jerice 4-12 0-0 10; ANDERSON, Charles 3-4 2-4 8; HARTWELL, Khalil 3-4 1-5 7; HERRING, Jaycen 2-3 0-0 4; MAYS, Keddric 0-7 2-2 2; DOAKS, Nicchaeus 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 25-59 22-32 76.
UNCG (11-14, SoCon 4-7)
HINES, Kyle 7-8 2-3 16; OLEKSIAK, Kevin 4-13 4-4 15; HICKMAN, Ricky 4-18 5-7 15; McCLENNY, David 4-9 0-0 10; AKINOSHO, Matt 3-4 2-6 8; JOHNSON, Dwayne 1-7 0-0 3; BECKFORD, Brian 0-0 0-0 0; TOOMS, Bart 0-0 0-0 0; SIMMONS, Everson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 23-60 13-20 67.
Halftime: Tied 31-31. 3-point goals-Chattanooga 4-17 (CROUCH, Jerice 2-4; LONG, Casey 2-3; MAYS, Keddric 0-6; DOAKS, Nicchaeus 0-1; HOOD, Ricky 0-2; CHERRY, Steve 0-1), UNCG 8-30 (OLEKSIAK, Kevin 3-9; McCLENNY, David 2-3; HICKMAN, Ricky 2-13; JOHNSON, Dwayne 1-4; SIMMONS, Everson 0-1). Fouled out--Chattanooga-DOAKS, Nicchaeus, UNCG-None. Rebounds-Chattanooga 44 (HARTWELL, Khalil 11), UNCG 35 (HINES, Kyle 9; AKINOSHO, Matt 9). Assists-Chattanooga 9 (HOOD, Ricky 3; LONG, Casey 3), UNCG 14 (OLEKSIAK, Kevin 5). Total fouls-Chattanooga 22, UNCG 24. A-1232
- UNCG -