Hines' double-double, Stywall's second half lift Spartans
ELON, NC – Kyle Hines hit the second of two free throws with 3.5 seconds to play to cap off a 22-point, 11-rebound effort to lead UNC Greensboro to a 61-57 win over backyard rival Elon in Southern Conference men’s basketball action Saturday afternoon.
The win made Mike Dement the winningest coach in UNCG men’s basketball history. Dement picked up his 93rd win at UNCG, passing Bob McEvoy’s mark of 92, and the 298th of his career.
Hines, a senior from Sicklerville, NJ, had his eighth double-double of the year and the 39th of his career. He also extended his nation’s best double figure scoring streak to 66 straight games. It was the 28th time in the streak that the All-America candidate has gone for 20 or more. He also blocked two shots, including the 300th of his career. He is just the second player in SoCon history to record 300 blocks and is seven shy of Rans Brempong’s career record.
Ben Stywall added 16 points – all in the second half. Stywall, a sophomore from Charlotte, NC, pulled eight rebounds and shot 6-of-7 from the floor, including a perfect 6-for-6 in the second half. He became the 32nd player in school history to record 300 career rebounds.
Brett James had 18 points and seven rebounds to lead Elon. Montell Watson chipped in with 14 points, including four three-pointers, and five steals.
“Elon was aggressive and physical in the first half and they really jumped out on us,” said UNCG coach Mike Dement. “Ben Stywall and Kevin Oleksiak were really key in the second half for us and really helped us turn it around. With them keying on Kyle, Kevin kept finding Ben in transition for some easy baskets and provided a big spark for us.
“Elon is always tough up here,” said Dement. “We knew this was a battle. The rivalry has been that way lately and today was no different. They hit a couple of shots late to make it go right down to the wire. Kyle finally got a couple of free throws to go down and we were able to get out of here with a big road win.”
The win snapped the Spartans’ two-game losing skid and raised UNCG’s mark to 10-6 overall and 4-3 in SoCon play. Elon, which lost for the fourth time in its last five games, dropped to 7-11 overall and 5-5 in league play. The Phoenix saw a 12-point lead late in the first half disappear after being held to just three points in a span of 8:37. It was the ninth time in the last 11 meetings that the game was decided by single digits.
With four offensive boards in the game’s first four minutes, the Phoenix set the tone early and jumped out to an 8-2 lead. A 9-2 Phoenix spurt midway through the first half gave Elon its first double digit advantage of the day at 19-8. To that point, Hines was the only one to score for UNCG. In fact, it wasn’t until Davor Galic’s free throw with 8:25 left in the half that another Spartan hit the scoring column.
A 12-3 UNCG run got the Spartans back to within eight with 3:20 to play in the half at 26-20. But after Hines picked up his second foul, the Phoenix went on a 7-1 run to open the lead back up to 12. The Spartans were able to salvage something going into the locker room with Mikko Koivisto’s trey from the right corner as time was running out cut the deficit to 33-24 at the break.
That three-pointer wound up being a spark for UNCG as the Spartans pecked away in the early part of the second half with defense. Elon went more than six minutes without a field goal, the final 1:27 of the first half and the first 4:46 of the second half. That helped UNCG to get to within 33-30. A conventional three-point play by Oleksiak and a lob inside to Hines tied it at 35-35 with 14 minutes left. Pete Brown’s conventional three-point play a little more than a minute later gave UNCG its first lead of the day, 38-35.
After Elon regained the lead briefly at 44-43 on a basket by James, UNCG countered and stretched its lead to nine with a 10-0 run. However, the run was broken by a Montell Watson trey and then steal and lay-up by Watson to cut it to 53-49 with four minutes to play.
The Phoenix cut it to two when James hit a three with Koivisto in his face from the left corner. That cut the Spartan lead to 56-54 with 1:30 to play.
Watson fouled Dwayne Johnson on the next possession with 1:04 to play. Johnson missed the front end of a one-and-one, but the Phoenix tried to throw a lob for James that went off the backboard.
Oleksiak was then fouled with 33.9 seconds left and he canned both free throws. But, as has happened so many times when UNCG has visited Koury Center the last few years, Elon had another big shot left in them. Watson drained a three from NBA-range above the top of the key to cut it to 58-57 with 17.2 seconds left.
Stywall was fouled on the in-bounds with 16.4 seconds left. He canned both free throws to make it a three-point game. But this time, Elon’s last shot – a trey by James from the right wing – was off the mark and Hines hit one of two to put it away.
The Spartans continue their five-game road swing Thursday night at College of Charleston. Game time is set for 7 pm.
FREE THROWS: In the first half, Hines was 5-for-8 from the floor while the rest of the Spartans were 3-of-11. Eleven turnovers in the first half didn’t help either. In contrast, the Spartans shot 52 percent from the field in the second half and had just five turnovers... In UNCG’s last seven wins, the Spartans are allowing 59 ppg. In their two losses last week, they gave up an average of 80... Oleksiak finished with just five points, but it was enough to move him into 25th place on the school’s all-time scoring list... Hines is now at 1,877 points and 913 career rebounds. Only five players have ever recorded 300 blocks, 2000 points and 1000 rebounds... The Spartans picked up their 10th win for the fifth straight year and eighth in the last nine years. UNCG has put together a string of five double-digit win seasons two other times before in the program’s 40-year history.
UNCG 61, ELON 57
UNCG (10-6, 4-3 SoCon)
Kyle Hines 9-15 4-10 22; Ben Stywall 6-7 4-4 16; Mikko Koivisto 2-6 0-0 6; Kevin Oleksiak 1-6 3-5 5; Pete Brown 2-2 1-1 5; Kendall Toney 1-4 0-0 3; Dwayne Johnson 0-2 2-3 2; Darrius Sellers 0-0 1-3 1; Davor Galic 0-2 1-2 1; Daniel Oliver 0-0 0-0 0; Landon Clement 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-44 16-28 61.
ELON (7-11, 5-5 SoCon)
Brett James 7-14 2-4 18; Montell Watson 5-15 0-0 14; Ola Atoyebi 4-8 1-3 9; Chris Long 3-8 1-4 8; Monty Sanders 2-7 0-0 4; Scott Grable 1-4 0-0 2; Devan Carter 1-2 0-0 2; Tj Douglas 0-1 0-0 0; Adam Constantine 0-1 0-0 0; John Charlesworth 0-0 0-0 0; Brian Waters 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 23-62 4-11 57.
Halftime: Elon 33-24. 3-point goals--UNCG 3-16 (Mikko Koivisto 2-6; Kendall Toney 1-3; Kevin Oleksiak 0-4; Dwayne Johnson 0-1; Davor Galic 0-1; Ben Stywall 0-1), Elon 7-19 (Montell Watson 4-8; Brett James 2-5; Chris Long 1-4; T.J. Douglas 0-1; Monty Sanders 0-1). Fouled out--UNCG-None, Elon-Ola Atoyebi; Brian Waters. Rebounds--UNCG 35 (Kyle Hines 11), Elon 37 (Brett James 7; Ola Atoyebi 7). Assists--UNCG 10 (Kevin Oleksiak 6), Elon 10 (Chris Long 3). Total fouls--UNCG 16, Elon 22. Technical fouls--UNCG-None, Elon-None. A-1261
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