GREENSBORO, NC – Kevin Oleksiak knocked down a 15-footer on the left wing with 23 seconds left and Hampton committed a lane violation on what would have been the tying free throw as UNC Greensboro defeated Hampton, 75-72, in men’s basketball action Saturday night at Fleming Gym.
Rashad West connected on his second free throw to tie the score at 73-73, but it was waived off because Jeff Granger jumped into the lane too soon. Ricky Hickman, who finished with a game-high 24 points, was then fouled. Hickman knocked down two free throws to make it a three-point game. Granger’s 24-footer as tied expired was off the mark and the Spartans had won their home opener for the eighth straight year.
Granger scored 17 of his 21 points in the first 10 minutes of the second half to lead Hampton (0-3). Kyle Hines added 22 points for UNCG (3-2). Oleksiak finished with 10 points, the fourth double-figure scoring game of the season for the sophomore from Abington, PA. Oleksiak only had three double-digit scoring games all of last season and two of those came against non-Division I opponents.
UNCG used an 8-2 run, which included Hines’ first career 3-pointer, to open up an 11-5 lead in the first three minutes. The Spartans extended the lead gradually to the second-half, reaching double-digits at 24-13 off a Hickman steal and dunk with 9:16 left in the first half.
Hampton got back to within one, however, by running of the next 10 points, thanks in part to a couple of Spartan miscues. A putback by Matthew Williams after UNCG fumbled the rebound got it back to a seven-point deficit, followed by a UNCG turnover on the in-bounds that Hampton converted with a conventional three-point play by Adrian Woodard. After a UNCG miss on its next possession, Michael Laney drained a 3-pointer to make it a 24-23 game.
The Spartans stopped the bleeding from there, stretched the margin back to five at one point, and took a 38-36 lead into the locker room.
Hampton came out and scored eight straight points to open the second half, however, to open up its largest lead of the night to that point, 44-38. Granger knocked down his first four shots of the second half, scoring 12 points in the first three minutes of the half as the lead stretched to nine, 50-41.
With several players in foul trouble, the Pirates then tried to switch to a 2-3 zone, but UNCG took advantage almost immediately. Oleksiak and Hickman knocked down 3-pointers less than 30 seconds apart to cut it back to three.
Hampton slowly stretched the lead back to nine before UNCG put together a run. Rashad West’s lay-up with 8:48 to play gave the Pirates a 63-54 lead. But Hines scored on UNCG’s next possession and Oleksiak knocked down one of two at the line to cut it back to six and open a 10-0 run. Hickman followed with a three-pointer, Hines scored on a lay-up and Oleksiak knocked down two free throws after another Hickman steal to retake the lead, 64-63. All the while, Hampton’s big man in the middle, Bruce Brown, sat on the bench after his fourth foul.
As Brown came back, the team’s see-sawed back-and-forth. West went to the line and made one of two free throws to give Hampton a 71-69 lead with 2:29 to play. Hines, who struggled at the foul line most of the night, knocked down a pair of free throws to tie the game. Neither team scored after that until Oleksiak’s bucket with 23 seconds left.
UNCG returns to action on Wednesday when it hits the road again to take on South Carolina in Columbia. Game time is 7:30 pm.
SIDELINES: The teams combined for 29 fouls in the first half (17 on Hampton), resulting in 34 free throw attempts (22 by UNCG)... Hines’ 15 free throw attempts set a career-high. He recorded his 10th straight double-figure scoring game going back to last season. It was also his eighth career 20-point game... UNCG’s 3-point total was a season-high... It was Hickman’s ninth career 20-point game. His career-high is 29, which came against Southern Mississippi last December... UNCG has won seven straight nonconference home games and 25 of the last 26... UNCG is 27-12 all-time in home openers and 13-2 since the move to Division I. The Spartans are 13-4 in home openers at Fleming... The game marked the official return of Mike Dement to Fleming Gym. Dement as won 26 of his last 32 at Fleming and is 29-14 all-time... UNCG has now won 17 straight when leading at the half, including 3-0 this season...UNCG's 40 free throw attempts tied for the fourth most in the program's history and marked the seventh time the Spartans have gone to the line 40 or more times in a contest.
UNC GREENSBORO 75, HAMPTON 72
Granger, Jeff 6-14 5-5 21; West, Rashad 3-6 8-9 14; Brown, Bruce 5-9 3-5 13; Pehoua, Lionel 4-6 0-0 9; Woodard, Adrian 2-4 1-1 5; Williams, Matthew 1-5 2-2 4; Laney, Michael 1-4 0-0 3; Spencer, Dewayne 1-4 1-2 3; Clark, Kevin 0-0 0-0 0; Brantley, Marcel 0-0 0-0 0; Bean, Mike 0-0 0-0 0; Mattox, Demario 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 23-54 20-24 72.
Hickman, Ricky 6-14 8-10 24; Hines, Kyle 7-12 7-15 22; Oleksiak, Kevin 2-7 5-6 10; Tooms, Bart 2-6 2-2 7; Johnson, Dwayne 1-4 3-5 5; Akinosho, Matt 2-5 0-0 4; Simmons, Everson 1-1 1-2 3; Beckford, Brian 0-4 0-0 0; McClenny, David 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-53 26-40 75.
Halftime: UNCG 38-36. 3-point goals-HAMPTON 6-17 (Granger, Jeff 4-9; Laney, Michael 1-2; Pehoua, Lionel 1-1; Williams, Matthew 0-3; Mattox, Demario 0-1; West, Rashad 0-1), UNCG 7-19 (Hickman, Ricky 4-8; Tooms, Bart 1-3; Oleksiak, Kevin 1-4; Hines, Kyle 1-1; Beckford, Brian 0-3). Fouled out--HAMPTON-None, UNCG-None. Rebounds-HAMPTON 40 (Williams, Matthew 7), UNCG 37 (Beckford, Brian 7; Hines, Kyle 7). Assists-HAMPTON 10 (Williams, Matthew 4), UNCG 10 (Hickman, Ricky 2; Hines, Kyle 2; Akinosho, Matt 2; Johnson, Dwayne 2). Total fouls-HAMPTON 30, UNCG 21. Att: 820
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