Hot second half leads UNCG past College of Charleston
GREENSBORO, NC – UNC Greensboro had only four players hit the scoring column, but three went for more than 20 as the Spartans topped College of Charleston, 75-67, in Southern Conference men’s basketball action at Fleming Gym on Thursday night.
The Spartans set a school record by shooting 84 percent from the floor in the second half, going 16-for-19. They made their first 10 shots of the half to erase a seven-point second half. Mikko Koivisto led the way with a career-high 25 points for UNCG (16-11, 10-8), which clinched the final bye slot in the upcoming Southern Conference Tournament with the win.
Kyle Hines had 23 points and eight rebounds for UNCG to extend his streak of games with 10 or more points to 77 in a row. The All-America candidate from Sicklerville, NJ also had three blocks and four steals. Kevin Oleksiak also had 22 points for the Spartans.
It was just the second time in UNCG’s Division I era that three Spartans topped 20 points in the same game. The only other time that happened was in an overtime loss to NC State last January.
The only other Spartan to score was Ben Stywall with five points, all of which came in the final 15:34.
Jermaine Johnson led the Cougars (12-16, 7-11) with 18 points and eight rebounds. Andrew Goudelock added 12 points and Donovan Monroe chipped in with 11 points for College of Charleston.
“We didn’t really seem like we wanted to play much defense in the first half,” said UNCG coach Mike Dement. “We did a much better job in the second half and that led to our offense. We shot the ball great, but a lot of that is because we were able to get out in transition and open up the floor. Oleksiak did a nice job pushing the ball up, forcing tempo, making some shots. It was a much better effort in the second half.”
For 15 minutes, the Spartans struggled to make shots. In the next 15 minutes, they seemingly couldn’t miss. UNCG closed out the first half by going 4-for-21 from the floor, seeing a seven-point lead turn into a seven-point deficit with the opening possession of the second half. It then began the second half, however, by going 14-for-15 from the floor.
UNCG jumped out to an early seven-point advantage, but the Cougars pecked away while holding the Spartans to just two field goals in an 11-minute span. College of Charleston came back to tie the game at 21-21 on a Tony White, Jr. three-pointer with just over seven minutes left in the opening half. That began a 7-0 run that gave College of Charleston its first lead of the night, 25-21.
The Cougars maintained that lead, limiting the Spartans to 9-of-27 shooting from the floor in the first half, to take a 31-26 lead into the break. After jumping out to its 15-8 lead, UNCG missed 17 of 21 from the field to close out the half, the complete opposite of the first meeting when the Spartans shot 67 percent from the floor in both halves to hand the Cougars their worst home loss in more than 20 years.
But then came another reversal of field by the Spartans. After the Cougars scored on the opening possession of the second half, UNCG ran off 12 straight points – keyed by consecutive treys by Koivisto and Oleksiak – to regain the lead, 38-33. In fact, after the cold streak in the first half, UNCG came out and made its first 10 shots and 14 ouf of 15 to open the second half. That helped the Spartans stretch the lead to 12, 51-39.
The Spartans remained white hot, but the Cougars weren’t quite ready to go away completely. With 5:28 left, the Spartans led 68-53 after a pair of Hines’ free throws. College of Charleston scored 12 of the next 17 to get to within eight, 73-65, but time was running out at that point and UNCG was on its way to wrapping up a winning season.
UNCG returns to action on Thursday night when it host Chattanooga. Prior to the game, UNCG will retire the No. 42 worn by Kyle Hines. Festivities will get underway at approx. 7 pm and tip-off will take place around 7:30 pm.
FREE THROWS: Mikko Koivisto connected on five 3-pointers on Thursday night to extend his streak of consecutive games with a trey to 20 in a row... the winning season will be UNCG’s 16th in the program’s 41-year history... UNCG converted eight of the first nine Cougar turnovers in the second half into 18 points. UNCG held a 20-9 advantage in points of turnovers for the night... Dwayne Johnson had seven assists for the Spartans to raise his career total to 409 – five shy of fourth place on the school’s all-time list... It was Hines’ 44th career 20-point game, 35 of which have come during his 77-game streak scoring in double digits... Although it is only the fourth time the teams have ever met twice in the same season and the first as SoCon members, Thursday’s win marked the first season sweep for either team.
UNCG 75, COLL OF CHARLESTON 67
COLL OF CHARLESTON (12-16, 7-11)
Jermaine Johnson 8-13 1-2 18; Andrew Goudelock 4-7 3-4 12; Donavan Monroe 4-7 2-2 11; Jeremy Simmons 4-6 1-1 9; Dustin Scott 3-4 0-0 6; Tony White Jr 2-8 0-0 5; Antwaine Wiggins 2-7 0-0 4; Marcus Hammond 1-3 0-0 2; Konimba Diarra 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 28-56 7-9 67.
UNCG (16-11, 10-8)
Mikko Koivisto 8-10 4-6 25; Kyle Hines 7-13 9-12 23; Kevin Oleksiak 8-10 3-4 22; Ben Stywall 2-5 1-3 5; Kendall Toney 0-4 0-0 0; Davor Galic 0-1 0-0 0; Pete Brown 0-2 0-0 0; Daniel Oliver 0-1 0-0 0; Landon Clement 0-0 0-0 0; Dwayne Johnson 0-0 0-2 0. Totals 25-46 17-27 75.
Halftime: College of Charleston 31-26. 3-point goals--Coll of Charleston 4-15 (Donavan Monroe 1-2; Andrew Goudelock 1-3; Jermaine Johnson 1-1; Tony White Jr 1-4; Antwaine Wiggins 0-5), UNCG 8-16 (Mikko Koivisto 5-7; Kevin Oleksiak 3-5; Ben Stywall 0-1; Kendall Toney 0-2; Davor Galic 0-1). Fouled out--Coll of Charleston-Dustin Scott, UNCG-None. Rebounds--Coll of Charleston 31 (Jeremy Simmons 8; Jermaine Johnson 8), UNCG 27 (Kyle Hines 8). Assists--Coll of Charleston 11 (Tony White Jr 3; Donavan Monroe 3), UNCG 14 (Dwayne Johnson 7). Total fouls--Coll. of Charleston 18, UNCG 10. Technical fouls--Coll of Charleston-None, UNCG-None. A-1050
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