UNCG rallies from 16-point deficit to beat Furman, 65-59
GREENSBORO, NC – For most of the night, Ricky Hickman’s double-digit scoring streak was in jeopardy. But it was the shot that kept the streak alive that made everyone forget the streak.
Hickman knocked down a 22-footer from above the top of the key with 52 seconds to play to break a 56-56 tie and lift UNC Greensboro to a 65-59 win over Furman in Southern Conference men’s basketball action at Fleming Gymnasium on Saturday night.
Hickman finished with just 14 points, more than five below his average of 19.5 ppg. But it was enough for the SoCon’s second-leading scorer to extend his double-digit scoring streak to 21 consecutive games – the longest by a Spartan since 1992 – and to give the Spartans a much-needed conference win.
UNCG (11-12, 4-5 SoCon) trailed by as many as 16 points in the first half after a 23-4 run by Furman (12-9, 5-4) early in the contest. The Spartans were still trailing by 13 at the intermission.
“Coach told us at halftime that if any of us believed that we couldn’t win the game that those guys should just stay in the locker room,” said Hickman. “It was gut check time. We just looked around at each other and knew that we had to believe it for it to happen.”
After Hickman’s 3-pointer to break the tie, he, Kevin Oleksiak and Kyle Hines each knocked down both ends of one-and-ones to seal the win.
Hines led UNCG with a game-high 17 points, the 13th straight game in double figures for the sophomore from Sicklerville, NJ. Hickman finished with 14, including two three-pointers to extend his consecutive games with a three-pointer streak to 19 straight. Oleksiak also added 12 points.
Furman was led by Eric Webb and Robby Bostain with 11 points each. Moussa Diagne also added 10 points. The Paladins, after shooting 62.5 percent from the field in the first half, shot just 22.6 percent in the second half. UNCG, meanwhile, shot 59.1 percent from the field in the second half and got it done from the free throw line. The Spartans, who came into the night shooting just 65.1 percent from the line this season, were a perfect 12-for-12 at the line, including making good on all six attempts after Hickman’s decisive three-pointer.
“We got great help from our bench in the second half,” said UNCG coach Mike Dement. “David McClenny probably played his best game of the season. He made a great feed to Kyle in a high-low post situation and had a couple of big baskets to get things going for us.
“We played much better defense in the second half,” said Dement. “They were an offensive machine in the first half. We took it up a notch there in the second half and really got great play from the bench when we needed it. We’ve got four guys who are in the Top 10 in the league in minutes, all playing more than 30 minutes a night. We need those guys on the bench – Beckford, Simmons, Tooms – to give us a few minutes here and there and that really helped down the stretch.”
After UNCG opened the scoring with a three-pointer by Oleksiak, Furman went on a 23-4 run over the next eight minutes to take a 16-point lead midway through the first half. The Paladins hit 9-of-13 from the floor in that span, but would only make just 13-of-42 the rest of the way.
UNCG missed 12 of its first 16 from the floor, but put together a 10-0 run to get back in it. A jumper by Bart Tooms and a conventional three-point play by Kyle Hines got the Spartans going. Brian Beckford followed with a jumper from the left corner and Tooms capped it off with a three-pointer from right wing that got UNCG back within six.
Furman, which held Hickman to just two first-half points, regained its double-digit lead by closing out the half with a 15-6 run to take a 38-25 lead into the locker room.
However, Hickman started to get on track and Furman got off track to open the second half. Furman went the first 3:40 without a field goal and scored just five points in the first eight minutes. Hickman, meanwhile scored UNCG’s first five points of the second half as the Spartans got the margin back to eight.
The Spartans couldn’t cut into the margin any more until an 18-4 run that began midway through the second half. McClenny, who started the run with his first basket of the night, then knocked down a big three-pointer from the right corner to cut the Furman lead to 49-45. After a Furman bucket, a three-pointer by UNCG’s Dwayne Johnson and a basket in the lane by Hines cut it to one. After a stop on the other end, UNCG went back to Hines and he gave the Spartans their first lead since the opening minutes, 52-51, with 5:15 to play.
Furman managed to shoot just 4-for-16 from the floor in the final 11 minutes as UNCG capped off its rally.
UNCG, which is 9-1 this season when it holds the opposition under 70 points, will travel to Davidson on Wednesday night for a 7 pm tip.
SIDELINES: UNCG was 19-for-30 from the field after its frigid start... The home team jinx survived Saturday night. UNCG is 5-0 at home against Furman. Furman is 4-0 at home against UNCG. Furman won the only conference tournament meeting between the two teams in – you guessed it – Greenville at Bi-Lo Center... Hines entered Saturday night’s game shooting 60.2 percent from the floor after shooting 69.2 percent from the field in January. Only two Spartans have ever shot better than 60 percent from the floor for the season twice – Steve Hunter (1988-89 and 1989-90) and Eric Cuthrell (1993-94 and 1994-95)... Hickman’s only first half field goal came on a baseline dunk with 1:10 left... Hines eclipsed the 400 point mark for the season on Saturday night, making for just the third sophomore to achieve the mark... Oleksiak now has 50 3-pointers this season, making his the ninth Spartan to record 50 3-pointers in a campaign... Hickman needs 26 points for 1,000 in his career. He would be the 13th Spartan to do so.
UNCG 65, FURMAN 59
FURMAN (12-9, 5-4 SoCon)
WEBB, Eric 4-8 0-0 11; BOSTAIN, Robby 3-6 4-4 11; DIAGNE, Moussa 4-9 0-0 10; JONES, Jadee 3-7 0-0 9; JONES, Stanley 4-9 0-0 8; CARTER, Tony 2-7 0-0 4; BROZOS, George 1-2 0-0 2; PUNCH, Gerad 1-5 0-0 2; VAN DE LAAR, Julius 0-2 2-2 2. Totals 22-55 6-6 59.
UNCG (11-12, 4-5 SoCon)
HINES, Kyle 7-13 3-3 17; HICKMAN, Ricky 4-12 4-4 14; OLEKSIAK, Kevin 3-7 4-4 12; TOOMS, Bart 3-5 1-1 8; McCLENNY, David 3-6 0-0 7; JOHNSON, Dwayne 1-1 0-0 3; SIMMONS, Everson 1-1 0-0 2; BECKFORD, Brian 1-1 0-0 2; AKINOSHO, Matt 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-46 12-12 65.
Halftime: Furman 38-25. 3-point goals-Furman 9-28 (WEBB, Eric 3-7; JONES, Jadee 3-7; DIAGNE, Moussa 2-4; BOSTAIN, Robby 1-2; PUNCH, Gerad 0-3; BROZOS, George 0-1; CARTER, Tony 0-4), UNCG 7-15 (OLEKSIAK, Kevin 2-4; HICKMAN, Ricky 2-5; JOHNSON, Dwayne 1-1; TOOMS, Bart 1-2; McCLENNY, David 1-3). Fouled out--Furman-None, UNCG-None. Rebounds-Furman 30 (CARTER, Tony 6), UNCG 26 (HINES, Kyle 5; McCLENNY, David 5). Assists-Furman 13 (CARTER, Tony 6), UNCG 15 (JOHNSON, Dwayne 4). Total fouls-Furman 15, UNCG 10. A-1003
- UNCG -