GREENSBORO, NC - UNC Greensboro held Chattanooga to just one field goal in the final 3:37 to secure a 67-57 win in Southern Conference men’s basketball action at Fleming Gym on Saturday night.
Freshman Kendall Toney led all scorers with 17 points, including five 3-pointers. Kyle Hines added 16 points, eight rebounds and four blocks for the Spartans (8-9, 5-2 SoCon). Ricky Hickman chipped in with 12 points and Mikko Koivisto added 11 points.
Hines entered the game having shot 75 percent from the floor in five career games against the Mocs. Chattanooga did a good job on the All-American candidate on Saturday, forcing him into a 4-for-10 night from the floor with the double teams that Hines has gotten accustomed to night in and night out. But the Sicklerville, NJ native still managed to score 16 points to extend his streak of scoring 10 or more points to 38 consecutive games.
With the win and Appalachian State’s loss at home to Elon on Saturday afternoon, the Spartans move to within percentage points of the top of the SoCon’s North Division. The Mountaineers (12-4, 4-1) visit Fleming Gym on Thursday at 7 pm. Western Carolina (7-9, 4-1) is also in the mix atop the division. Those two teams must first meet in Boone on Monday.
Chattanooga (8-11, 1-6) was led by Marcus Watts’ 11 points, the first time he has led the Mocs in scoring this season. Nicchaeus Doaks and Casey Long each chipped in 10 points apiece.
With UNCG holding a 10-point lead and just under four minutes remaining, the Mocs rallied to cut the lead to five. But Dwayne Johnson’s only field goal of the night – a three-pointer from the top of the key – gave UNCG an eight-point lead and set the stage Chattanooga’s need to foul. The Spartans hit 4-of-4 at the line to put the game out of reach.
“I think that last six to eight minutes were our best defensive effort this season,” said UNCG coach Mike Dement, whose team broke a four-game losing skid to Chattanooga. “Matt Akinosho gave us a big lift, not just with his blocks down the stretch, but he had a big bucket, too, when one of our guys was falling out of bounds and flipped it back under the basket.
“We did the things that don’t show up on a stat sheet tonight. Dwayne Johnson had a block out foul and we made a big deal about it because that is the kind of things we need to do defensively. And we got four guys scoring in double figures. We need that kind of balance, not like we had the other night against Virginia Tech where Kyle was the only one scoring.”
Early on, UNCG showed no signs of a hangover from Wednesday’s 23-point loss to Virginia Tech, forcing five turnovers in the first four minutes of the game and jumping out to a 10-0 lead.
UNCG went nearly six minutes without a field goal, however, midway through the first half and the Mocs rallied back to take the lead. Keddric Mays’ three-pointer from the left wing closed Chattanooga to within 16-13 just inside of the 10-minute mark. Matt Gwynne followed that up on the Mocs’ next possession with a bucket to get to within a point. Doaks followed that with a three-pointer from the top of the key to give the Mocs an 18-16 lead and cap off a 14-1 run.
From there the came became a see-saw battle of runs. Chattanooga didn’t find the basket for the next four minutes and the Spartans ran off the next nine points to regain the lead, 25-18. Kendall Toney accounted for six of the nine points with a pair of treys in the run.
Chattanooga battled back to within two at the intermission when Ricky Hood scored the last four points of the half, however, and then scored the first four points of the second half to take a 33-29 lead.
But UNCG battled back with a 13-4 run, capped off by a baseline drive and dunk by Ricky Hickman, to take a 42-37 lead. Chattanooga battled back to tie the game at 48-48 before a UNCG 12-2 run that was sparked on the defensive end by Akinosho. A native of Sanford, NC, Akinosho had three blocks in a span of 2:20 to shut the Mocs off on the offensive end as UNCG opened up a 10-point lead with just under four minutes to play.
The Mocs did not get closer than five points the rest of the way.
SIDELINES: In the first half, Ricky Hickman went to the free throw line for the 500th time in his career – the second Spartan to ever reach the milestone... Hickman went back to the bench after struggling in his last two games from the field. He didn’t fare as well as he has in the past when moving to the bench. He averaged 19.8 ppg in the previous five games that he did not start. But he did manage nine of his 12 points after halftime... UNCG had a streak of 37 consecutive games with 20 or more points in the paint broken. The streak was ironically as long as Hines’ double-digit scoring streak up until Saturday... Entering Saturday’s game, Chattanooga was 6-2 all-time against UNCG in Greensboro, including a 4-2 mark at Fleming.
UNCG 67, CHATTANOOGA 57
CHATTANOOGA (8-11, 1-6 SoCon)
WATTS, Marcus 3-6 5-6 11; DOAKS, Nicchaeus 3-10 2-2 10; LONG, CASEY 5-10 0-0 10; GYWNNE, Matt 4-5 0-1 9; MAYS, Keddric 2-8 0-0 6; HOOD, Ricky 2-8 1-2 5; BRIDGEWATERS, Kevin 2-9 0-0 4; HARTWELL, Khalil 1-2 0-0 2; LOWNDES, Bernard 0-0 0-0 0; TROUPE, Tyler 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-58 8-11 57.
UNCG (8-9, 5-2 SoCon)
TONEY, Kendall 6-9 0-1 17; HINES, Kyle 4-10 8-10 16; HICKMAN, Ricky 3-11 5-6 12; KOIVISTO, Mikko 3-7 2-2 11; JOHNSON, Dwayne 1-4 0-2 3; STYWALL, Ben 1-3 1-2 3; OLEKSIAK, Kevin 1-4 0-0 3; AKINOSHO, Matt 1-2 0-0 2; BROWN, Pete 0-1 0-0 0; TOOMS, Bart 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-51 16-23 67.
Halftime: UNCG 31-29. 3-point goals--Chattanooga 5-22 (MAYS, Keddric 2-8; DOAKS, Nicchaeus 2-5; GYWNNE, Matt 1-1; BRIDGEWATERS, Kevin 0-2; HOOD, Ricky 0-3; LONG, CASEY 0-3), UNCG 11-25 (TONEY, Kendall 5-7; KOIVISTO, Mikko 3-7; JOHNSON, Dwayne 1-2; HICKMAN, Ricky 1-6; OLEKSIAK, Kevin 1-2; STYWALL, Ben 0-1). Fouled out--Chattanooga-None, UNCG-None. Rebounds--Chattanooga 35 (DOAKS, Nicchaeus 8), UNCG 38 (HINES, Kyle 8). Assists--Chattanooga 8 (LONG, CASEY 3), UNCG 12 (KOIVISTO, Mikko 4). Total fouls--Chattanooga 19, UNCG 13. Technical fouls--Chattanooga-None, UNCG-None. A-1040
- UNCG -