GREENSBORO, NC – Western Carolina was nearly perfect in the second half, hitting 15-of-19 from the field and 10-of-11 from the free throw line, to offset a good shooting night by UNC Greensboro and win, 87-76, in Southern Conference men’s basketball action Monday night at Fleming Gym.
Western’s Kyle Greathouse, coming off a 6-for-11 night from behind the arc on Saturday against Chattanooga, knocked down 7-of-9 from 3-point range on his way to a career-high 29 points for Western Carolina. David Berghoeffer added 23 points for the Catamounts (9-10, 3-1 SoCon).
UNCG (8-10, 1-3 SoCon) got a season-high 26 points from junior Ricky Hickman. He knocked down five 3-pointers and had 21 of his 26 points in the second half. He led four Spartans in double figures. Kyle Hines added 19 points and eight rebounds, shooting 9-for-11 from the field. Kevin Oleksiak added 14 points and Dwayne Johnson chipped in 10 points and had six assists for UNCG, who lost for the seventh time in their last eight games and saw its seven-game winning streak at Fleming stopped.
While Western Carolina shot 58.5 percent from the floor on the night, the Spartans shot 54.9 percent from the floor on the game, flirting with a 60 percent shooting night until the waning moments. It was UNCG’s highest shooting percentage in a loss since shooting 56 percent in a 106-98 loss at Missouri back on Dec. 21, 2003.
Playing in Fleming Gym for just the sixth time in its 18 games this season, UNCG showed it was happy to be home early on. The Spartans knocked down 8 of their first 13 from the floor to open up an early five-point lead, 21-16. But the Catamounts responded with an 12-2 run to take it first lead midway through the half, 28-23. Thirteen of Western Carolina’s points to that juncture had come on second-chance opportunities.
The Catamounts wound up taking a 41-35 lead into the locker room, the first time this season UNCG has trailed at home at the break.
The Catamounts looked to be dealt a serious blow in the opening minutes of the second half. Corey Muirhead, Western’s third-leading scorer, was called for a charge for his fourth foul at 15:52. On his way to the huddle for the ensuing media timeout, Muirhead was assessed a technical foul, which became his fifth personal foul and disqualified him.
Greathouse picked up the slack, however, scoring 20 of his 29 in the second half. He was 5-for-5 from the floor, four of them from three-point range, and 6-for-6 from the line in the second half. Seventeen of the 20 points came after Muirhead went out of the game.
UNCG was within three, 55-52, when Western Carolina went on a 13-5 run to open up the first double digit lead of the night, 68-57, with 7:12 to play.
UNCG cut the lead to five with 2:42 to play, 75-70, on a pair of Hickman free throws. However, the Spartans managed just two field goals the rest of the way and the Catamounts were a perfect 8-for-8 from the line in the final 56 seconds to put the game away.
The Spartans return to action on Saturday when they continue their three-game homestand by hosting Appalachian State at 7 pm.
SIDELINES: The game started 40 minutes late after the first half of the doubleheader – the UNCG women vs. College of Charleston – went into overtime... The game featured a matchup of the two “new” head coaches in the Southern Conference. Between Mike Dement and Western Carolina’s Larry Hunter, the duo has served as the head coach in nearly 1,300 games. Hunter previously served as head coach at Ohio University... Hickman has scored in double figures in 16 straight games going back to last year.
WESTERN CAROLINA 87, UNC GREENSBORO 76
WESTERN CAROLINA (9-10, 3-1)
GREATHOUSE, Kyle 8-10 6-6 29; BERGHOEFER, David 10-15 2-5 23; McKENNA, Negus 5-7 0-0 13; RUSSELL, Antonio 3-9 0-0 7; HOPKINS, Trey 2-2 1-1 6; MUIRHEAD, Corey 2-6 1-2 5; WILSON, Eric 1-2 2-2 4; OUTING, Jared 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 31-53 12-16 87.
UNCG (8-10, 1-3)
HICKMAN, Ricky 8-16 5-6 26; HINES, Kyle 9-11 1-3 19; OLEKSIAK, Kevin 5-12 1-2 14; JOHNSON, Dwayne 4-6 0-0 10; McCLENNY, David 1-4 0-0 3; TOOMS, Bart 1-1 0-0 3; BECKFORD, Brian 0-0 1-2 1; AKINOSHO, Matt 0-1 0-0 0; SIMMONS, Everson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-51 8-13 76.
Halftime: Western Carolina, 41-35. 3-point goals-Western Carolina 13-22 (GREATHOUSE, Kyle 7-9; McKENNA, Negus 3-5; RUSSELL, Antonio 1-4; BERGHOEFER, David 1-1; HOPKINS, Trey 1-1; OUTING, Jared 0-1; MUIRHEAD, Corey 0-1), UNCG 12-25 (HICKMAN, Ricky 5-11; LEKSIAK, Kevin 3-9; JOHNSON, Dwayne 2-2; TOOMS, Bart 1-1; McCLENNY, David 1-2). Fouled out--Western Carolina-MUIRHEAD, Corey, UNCG-None. Rebounds-Western Carolina 30 (BERGHOEFER, David 7), UNCG 22 (HINES, Kyle 8). Assists-Western Carolina 21 (WILSON, Eric 5; GREATHOUSE, Kyle 5), UNCG 12 (JOHNSON, Dwayne 6). Total fouls-Western Carolina 14, UNCG 16.
- UNCG -