BOONE, NC – Hampered by 26 turnovers, UNC Greensboro lost at Appalachian State, 80-66, in Southern Conference men’s basketball action at the Holmes Center on Thursday night.
With the win, Appalachian State (23-6, 15-3) wrapped up the SoCon North Division crown and will be the No. 2 seed in next week’s Southern Conference Tournament. With the loss, UNCG will be the No. 4 seed in the tournament, which gets underway with first-round games on Wednesday. The Spartans will face fifth-seeded Furman on Thursday at approximately 4:30 pm in the quarterfinal round.
D.J. Thompson celebrated his Senior Night by leading the Mountaineers with 32 points, one shy of his career-high. It was his eighth 20-point game this season and the 29th of his career. He knocked down 12-of-23 from the floor, including 6-of-14 from three-point range. He also had nine steals in the contest.
Junior forward Kyle Hines had 18 points and 10 rebounds, his 48th consecutive game in double figures to extend his school record streak for UNCG (15-13, 11-6). He passed Scott Hartzell for third on the career scoring list and now has 1,540 points. It was also his 10th double-double this season, one shy of his own single-season record set last year, and the 31st of his career.
Freshman Mikko Koivisto recorded his sixth game of 10 or more points in the last seven outings with 16 points. Ricky Hickman chiped in with 13 points. moving into a tie for fifth on the UNCG scoring list.
Appalachian State scored the first seven points of the second half to open up its largest lead of the night, 41-32. The lead grew to 14 with 15:26 to play, 52-38, on seven straight points by Thompson. Shortly thereafter, UNCG went past the 20-turnover mark for the night.
“D.J. is a great player and that showed tonight,” said UNCG coach Mike Dement. “He was all over the place out there creating havoc and that led to a lot of our turnovers tonight. He just took over in the second half.
“As good as an offensive team as they are, you can’t let them have 30 more shots than you get. That was our lack of rebounding and the turnovers. They had 19 offensive rebounds and we didn’t take care of the basketball.”
The Spartans got to within eight at 60-52, but Appalachian State went on a 15-2 run to blow the game wide open.
Neither team really got on track early on and it resulted in a couple of mini-runs. The Spartans had six turnovers in the game’s first six minutes, while Appalachian State, the best shooting team in the SoCon at 48.4 percent from the floor, missed 14 of their first 19 to open the contest. The Mountaineers scored the game’s first six points to force Dement to call a quick timeout to settle his troops. UNCG responded to the early timeout with the next six points.
Appalachian State scored five straight, before UNCG scored nine in a row to take its first lead of the game, 15-11. But the teams started to get into a back-and-forth contest from there. Neither team led by four the remainder of the half. Thompson’s off-balance shot from 12 feet just before the buzzer gave the Mountaineers a 34-32 lead at the break.
Other tournament seeds wrapped up on Thursday night had Davidson clinching the No. 1 seed by virtue of its win over Furman and College of Charleston wrapping up No. 3 by beating cross-city rival The Citadel.
SIDELINES: For the first time all season, Kyle Hines entered a game NOT atop the Southern Conference. Hines began the night second in the SoCon in scoring at 20.6 ppg, a fraction behind Davidson freshman Stephen Curry at 20.7 ppg. Hines led the league in scoring for exactly 100 consecutive days going back to Nov. 11 when he opened the season with 38 points in an overtime loss at Marshall... In the first half of Thursday’s game, Appalachian State shot the ball 39 times to UNCG’s 21. Part of that was caused by UNCG’s 12 first-half turnovers and the part was caused by Appalachian State’s 12 first-half offensive rebounds... Ricky Hickman now has 400 points this season, making him the third player in school history to record 400 points in three seasons. Only Hickman and teammate Kyle Hines have accomplished it in consecutive seasons. Jay Joseph also recorded three seasons of 400 points (non-consecutive).
APPALACHIAN STATE 80, UNCG 66
UNCG (15-13, 11-6 SC)
HINES, Kyle 7-12 4-5 18; KOIVISTO, Mikko 5-9 2-2 16; HICKMAN, Ricky 4-8 2-2 13; TONEY, Kendall 2-4 0-0 6; STYWALL, Ben 1-3 3-6 5; OLEKSIAK, Kevin 1-3 1-2 4; TOOMS, Bart 1-1 0-0 2; JOHNSON, Dwayne 1-2 0-0 2; MOORE, Donald 0-0 0-0 0; BROWN, Pete 0-0 0-0 0; AKINOSHO, Matt 0-0 0-0 0; VLAZNY, Greg 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 22-43 12-17 66.
APPALACHIAN STATE (23-6, 14-3 SC)
THOMPSON, D.J. 12-23 2-2 32; CLAYTON, Jeremy 6-10 0-2 12; BOWNE, Davis 4-5 2-4 10; SCOTT, Demetrius 5-11 0-0 10; CRANFORD, Nathan 2-9 0-0 6; ABRAHAM, Ryann 1-2 0-0 2; McLAUGHLIN-WILLIAMS 1-2 0-0 2; HARPER, Jeremy 1-3 0-0 2; BERMUDEZ, Eduardo 1-2 0-0 2; HENDERSON, P.L. 1-2 0-0 2; MINTER, Donte 0-2 0-0 0; WEBB, Tyler 0-0 0-0 0; McMILLAN, Jay 0-0 0-0 0; BRAND, Kellen 0-4 0-0 0. Totals 34-75 4-8 80.
Halftime: Appalachian State, 34-32. 3-point goals--UNCG 10-21 (KOIVISTO, Mikko 4-8; HICKMAN, Ricky 3-6; TONEY, Kendall 2-4; OLEKSIAK, Kevin 1-2; VLAZNY, Greg 0-1), Appalachian State 8-27 (THOMPSON, D.J. 6-14; CRANFORD, Nathan 2-9; ABRAHAM, Ryann 0-1; McLAUGHLIN-WILLIAMS 0-1; BERMUDEZ, Eduardo 0-1; BRAND, Kellen 0-1). Fouled out--UNCG-None, Appalachian State-None. Rebounds--UNCG 32 (HINES, Kyle 10), Appalachian State 34 (BOWNE, Davis 5; THOMPSON, D.J. 5; CLAYTON, Jeremy 5). Assists--UNCG 13 (OLEKSIAK, Kevin 3), Appalachian State 11 (THOMPSON, D.J. 4). Total fouls--UNCG 10, Appalachian State 16. Technical fouls--UNCG-HICKMAN, Ricky, Appalachian State-None. A-5011
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