BOILING SPRINGS, NC – Junior forward Kyle Hines overcame a slow start to record a double-double with 27 points and 13 rebounds as UNCG picked up its first win of the season, 79-67, over Gardner-Webb in men’s basketball action Tuesday night at Porter Arena.
The win snapped UNCG’s 14-game road losing streak. The Spartans hadn’t won on the road since Dec. 6 of last year at East Carolina.
Freshman Mikko Koivisto chipped in with a season-high 16 points, his third double-digit scoring game this season. He knocked down 3-of-5 from three-point range in 25 minutes of action. Ricky Hickman also added 16 points, including 9-of-10 from the foul line. Dwayne Johnson added five points and a season-high nine assists for the Spartans.
Ricky McPhee led Gardner-Webb (0-4) with 17 points. Chris Gash added 16 points for the Bulldogs.
Despite a tough shooting first half, the Spartans took a lead to the locker room, 36-33, thanks to Koivisto’s three-pointer just before the buzzer. The Spartans (1-4) shot just 31 percent from the floor in the first half, but committed just five turnovers and knocked down five three-pointers to hold a lead at the break.
Gardner-Webb, coming off a 53-point loss to North Carolina on Sunday and playing its home opener, hit 5-of-8 to open the game and take a 13-3 lead in the first 4:24 of the contest. UNCG missed 9-of-11 from the field to open game. However, the Spartans battled back, holding the Bulldogs without a field goal for more than five minutes. A three-pointer by Kendall Toney capped a 12-0 run as UNCG took its first lead of the night, 15-14.
Gardner-Webb opened its lead back up to six midway through the first half, but UNCG battled back despite the Bulldogs keying on Hines. Hines missed seven of his first eight from the field, yet the Spartans were deadlocked, 31-31, with 2:30 left before halftime.
UNCG opened up a five-point lead midway through the second half, its largest of the night to that point. Ricky Hickman connected for his first field goal with 11:54 to play when he knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key with the shot clock winding down. Hines then followed with an up-and-under move on UNCG’s next possession to give the Spartans a 51-46 lead with just over 11 minutes to play.
Gardner-Webb knocked down back-to-back three-pointers on consecutive possessions to promptly erase that lead, the latter by Ricky McPhee. But the Spartans ran off 12 points in a row, sparked by Hines going over the 20-point mark for the 21st time in his career and recording his 23rd career double-double, to give UNCG a 63-52 lead with just under six minutes to play.
The Bulldogs cut it back to five with 4:30 to play on 3-pointers by McPhee and Gash, causing UNCG to take a timeout. The Spartans settled down again and slowly stretched the lead back to six before Koivisto knocked down a big 3-pointer from the left corner with 45 seconds to play to put the final nail in the coffin.
After Hines missed seven of eight to open, he made a more typical 7-of-12 from the floor to close out the game. It was just the second time in his career that he shot below 50 percent in consecutive games after going just 5-for-14 in a loss to East Carolina on Saturday night.
UNCG returns to action next Monday, Nov. 27, when it opens Southern Conference play against Wofford at Fleming Gym. Game time is set for 7 pm.
UNCG 79, GARDNER-WEBB 67
Hines, Kyle 8-20 11-14 27; Koivisto, Mikko 5-8 3-5 16; Hickman, Ricky 3-9 9-10 16; Oleksiak, Kevin 2-8 1-1 6; Toney, Kendall 2-3 0-0 5; Johnson,Dwyane 2-3 0-0 5; Stywall, Ben 0-6 2-2 2; Akinosho, Matt 1-2 0-0 2; Brown, Pete 0-0 0-0 0; Tooms, Bart 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 23-61 26-32 79.
McPHEE, Ricky 6-14 0-0 17; GASH, Chris 5-12 4-6 16; MacMILLAN, Auryn 5-12 1-2 11; SIDDLE, Takayo 3-8 0-0 8; SANDERS, Thomas 3-8 1-3 7; SIMS, Jake 2-6 0-0 6; MINCEY, Wesley 1-1 0-0 2; GRAHAM, Clint 0-0 0-0 0; FALL, Samba 0-1 0-2 0. Totals 25-62 6-13 67.
Halftime: UNCG 36-33. 3-point goals--UNCG 7-21 (Koivisto, Mikko 3-5; Oleksiak, Kevin 1-5; Hickman, Ricky 1-5; Johnson, Dwyane 1-2; Toney, Kendall 1-2; Tooms, Bart 0-1; Hines, Kyle 0-1), Gardner-Webb 11-27 (McPHEE, Ricky 5-10; SIDDLE, Takayo 2-5; SIMS, Jake 2-5; GASH, Chris 2-6; SANDERS, Thomas 0-1). Fouled out--UNCG-None, Gardner-Webb-None. Rebounds--UNCG 42 (Hines, Kyle 13), Gardner-Webb 37 (MacMILLAN, Auryn 6; SANDERS, Thomas 6). Assists--UNCG 17 (Johnson, Dwyane 9), Gardner-Webb 19 (SIDDLE, Takayo 6). Total fouls--UNCG 12, Gardner-Webb 24. Technical fouls--UNCG-None, Gardner-Webb-None. A-1750
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