UNCG snaps three-game losing skid, tops Elon 86-73
GREENSBORO, NC – After losing its star player to an ejection, UNC Greensboro went on a 28-8 run to turn away backyard rival Elon, 86-73, to snap a three-game losing streak in Southern Conference men’s basketball action at Fleming Gym.
Kyle Hines, who in his career had just one technical foul – way back in his freshman season – lost his cool with an official and drew three technical fouls and an ejection in the process with 15:14 to play. After six Elon free throws by Chris Chalko, however, the Spartans ran off 28 of the next 36 points to give UNCG a 74-58 lead with 4:46 to play.
“I want to go on the record an apologize for my behavior,” said a shaken Hines in the postgame press conference. “There is no excuse for what I did. I got frustrated and let my emotions get the best of me. I am embarrassed. I want to apologize to the fans, my teammates, the people at Elon, the officials, our entire university. There was no excuse for my behavior.”
UNCG (13-12, 9-5) was led by Ricky Hickman’s 22 points, 15 of which came at the foul line. Hickman was 15-of-18 at the foul line, tying the UNCG record for free throws made in a game and one short of the school record for free throws attempted in a contest. He was one of four players in double figures for UNCG. Mikko Koivisto added 13 points and Kevin Oleksiak chipped in 12 points. Hines also had 12 points in 17 minutes of action, extending his streak to 46 consecutive games with 10 or more points.
“I am really proud of the way my team responded after everything happened,” said UNCG coach Mike Dement. “Obviously, all of us in this room know Kyle Hines and that is not the way he typically behaves. However, our players as a group pulled together and played outstanding basketball after everything that happened.”
Elon (5-19, 3-11) was led by LeVonn Jordan’s 22 points. Chalko finished with 18 points, including four 3-pointers.
Coming off of a 22-point loss at home on Saturday, one might think the Spartans would come out with a passion on Monday. That was the case early on against Elon. The Spartans ran off the first nine points of the game and held Elon to one field goal attempt in the first three minutes. It wasn’t until Spartan killer Chalko came off the bench during an Elon timeout and drilled a three-pointer at 16:54 that Elon got on the scoreboard.
But that was the spark that the Phoenix need as they scored 13 of the next 18 points to pull within one, capped off by another three-pointer by Chalko.
Elon pulled ahead briefly at 17-15, but UNCG went on a 12-4 run to re-open its nine-point advantage. Hines scored six of the 12, his first six points of the night, as UNCG opened up a 33-24 lead with a little over five minutes left in the first half. The lead got as large as 12 before the Spartans headed into intermission with a 43-35 lead.
Elon’s Scott Grable scored the first five points of the second half, however, to pull the Phoenix to within three and force UNCG to call a quick timeout to get things back in order. But Brett James pulled Elon to within a point to cap off the quick 7-0 burst that made it 43-42.
Things got crazy with 15:17 to play in the second half, though. Hines thought he was fouled on a jumper from the right baseline and let the official know it, drawing a technical foul. As he went by the official reporting the technical foul, Hines drew a second technical and then a third as he went out the door to the locker room. Chalko knocked down all six free throws to give Elon a 50-46 lead.
But UNCG wasn’t about to fold without its star player. The Spartans went on a 28-8 run, using five three-pointers in the surge toopen up a 16-point lead and cruise to the win.
With the win and the combined losses by Western Carolina and Furman, UNCG moved one step closer to a bye in the upcoming Southern Conference Tournament. UNCG now has a 2-1/2 game lead on the Catamounts and Paldins with three games remaining on the Spartans’ schedule. Western Carolina, which is tied with Furman for the fifth and final bye slot, comes to town Wednesday at 7 pm.
SIDELINES: Elon’s Brett James returned to the starting lineup on Monday. James had missed the last 10 days of action due to a concussion suffered in practice... Elon’s Chris Chalko, a thorn in UNCG’s side the last couple of years, did not start on Monday night... UNCG used its 10th different starting line-up of the season on Monday as Ben Stywall didn’t start for the first time all season. Bart Tooms was in his place. With Stywall not starting, it leaves Kyle Hines as the only Spartan to start every game this season. That will end in UNCG's next game. By Southern Conference rule, Hines will not be able to play in Wednesday’s game against Western Carolina because of his ejection... The game nearly became a free throw shooting clinic. Fifty-two fouls were whistled, including the three technicals, resulting in 79 free throws. Twenty-five first-half fouls resulted in 39 free throws by the two teams. Twenty-one of the 25 fouls called in the first half sent someone to the free throw line.
UNCG 86, ELON 73
ELON (5-19, 3-11)
JORDAN, LeVonn 5-15 9-14 20; CHALKO, Chris 4-7 6-6 18; GRABLE, Scott 4-4 6-7 14; WATERS, Brian 2-7 3-5 9; JAMES, Brett 2-5 0-0 5; CARTER, Devan 2-3 0-0 4; ATOYEBI, Ola 1-3 1-2 3; DOUGLAS, TJ 0-1 0-0 0; CONSTANTINE, Adam 0-0 0-0 0; OGOLO, Jon 0-1 0-0 0; CHARLESWORTH, John 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 20-47 25-34 73.
UNCG (13-12, 10-5)
HICKMAN, Ricky 3-13 15-18 22; KOIVISTO, Mikko 3-6 4-4 13; OLEKSIAK, Kevin 5-10 0-0 12; HINES, Kyle 4-11 4-5 12; JOHNSON, Dwayne 2-3 2-3 8; AKINOSHO, Matt 1-3 4-6 6; STYWALL, Ben 1-3 4-7 6; TOOMS, Bart 1-2 2-2 4; TONEY, Kendall 1-2 0-0 3; BROWN, Pete 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-53 35-45 86.
3-point goals--Elon 8-19 (CHALKO, Chris 4-7; WATERS, Brian 2-5; JORDAN, LeVonn 1-2; JAMES, Brett 1-2; DOUGLAS, TJ 0-1; OGOLO, Jon 0-1; CARTER, Devan 0-1), UNCG 9-19 (KOIVISTO, Mikko 3-5; OLEKSIAK, Kevin 2-5; JOHNSON, Dwayne 2-2; HICKMAN, Ricky 1-6; TONEY, Kendall 1-1). Fouled out--Elon-JAMES, Brett; CHALKO, Chris, UNCG-HINES, Kyle. Rebounds--Elon 29 (JORDAN, LeVonn 8), UNCG 40 (AKINOSHO, Matt 9). Assists--Elon 11 (WATERS, Brian 6), UNCG 12 (JOHNSON, Dwayne 4). Total fouls--Elon 32, UNCG 21. Technical fouls--Elon-None, UNCG-HINES, Kyle 3. A-1056.
- UNCG -