GREENSBORO, NC – The Kevin Oleksiak Victory Tour continued on Saturday.
Oleksiak, who has come alive in UNC Greensboro’s now five-game winning streak, celebrated his 100th career game by scoring 22 of his season-high 29 points in the second half to lead the Spartans to a 79-67 win over Georgia Southern in a key Southern Conference men’s basketball match-up at Fleming Gym on Saturday afternoon.
Oleksiak, a senior from Abington, PA, has scored in double-figures in all five games during the winning streak and is now averaging 19.4 points during the streak. He had his previous season-high of 28 points in UNCG’s last outing, an 18-point win over Central Arkansas on Wednesday night. Prior to this five-game winning streak, Oleksiak was averaging just 6.8 points per contest. His scoring average has jumped up to 12.1 after Saturday’s victory.
Sophomore forward Ben Stywall added 16 points and five rebounds for UNCG, giving a big lift with the double-teaming that Kyle Hines saw yet again Saturday. Hines added 15 points and had a season-low three rebounds, but also added three blocks and four steals. He struggled with foul trouble, playing just 29 minutes before fouling out with 3:23 left. It was just the ninth time in 101 career games that Hines has fouled out of a contest.
Louis Graham had 24 points and 10 rebounds, his 26th career double-double, to lead Georgia Southern. Julian Allen chipped in with 17 points and seven rebounds.
UNCG (8-4, 2-1) outscored Georgia Southern 29-13 over a nearly 10-minute span to open the second half, turning a one-point halftime lead into a comfortable double-digit margin. During one stretch of that run, Hines and Oleksiak combined to score 22 straight points to bust open a close game.
Some UNCG foul trouble made things interesting late. After Hines and Pete Brown fouled out with three minutes to play, a quick Georgia Southern spurt cut the Spartan lead to 71-61. But after Oleksiak made 1-of-2 at the free throw line, the Eagles missed three three-point attempts.
Dwayne Johnson made 1-of-2 at the line before Louis Graham knocked down a three on the other end to cut it nine. Again, Johnson made 1-of-2 at the line to make it a 10-point lead with 1:33 to play. Stywall was whistled for his fourth foul with 1:23 to play and Graham knocked down 1-of-2 at the line.
Oleksiak was fouled with 1:12 left and knocked down both to make it 76-65. Graham was fouled again on the Eagles' next possession, this time making both. But again, Oleksiak was fouled and knocked down both free throws to put the game away.
“Our defense was really the key in the second half,” said Oleksiak. “We were able to get some stops and get out in transition. We could get spread out, get some 2-on-1 situations, make an extra pass and get some easy buckets.”
Georgia Southern (9-5, 2-2) couldn’t make a basket at the outset, falling behind early much like it did in a loss at Davidson on Thursday night. The Eagles, which trailed Davidson 21-3 at the outset of its previous game, missed 18 of their first 19 from the floor and UNCG, which started out just 2-for-7 itself, found a rhythm first and opened up a 14-4 lead in the game’s first nine minutes. But Georgia Southern ran off 10 of the next 12 to cut the UNCG lead to 16-14 with just over eight minutes left before the intermission. In fact, after the 1-for-19 open, the Eagles made their next six from the floor.
The Eagles took their first lead of the day with 1:54 left in the half when Fields stole a pass and drove the floor for a lay-up and a 26-25 advantage. But Dwayne Johnson found Kyle Hines on a backdoor cut to give the Spartans right back and then Hines blocked his third shot of the afternoon on the other end of the floor to secure a 27-26 lead at the break.
“I wasn’t really concerned with the way Georgia Southern was shooting the ball,” said UNCG coach Mike Dement, who picked up his 296th career win as a head coach and his 91st at UNCG, one shy of tying Bob McEvoy for most wins at UNCG. “I was more concerned with our rebounding when we went into the locker room. We had some foul trouble going on in our big men and we had to do a better job of hitting the board in the second half.”
The Spartans opened up the second half on a 10-3 run to grab a 37-29 advantage in the early stages of the second half. Hines and Oleksiak combined to score all 10 in the run as Hines extended his double figure scoring streak to 62 straight games – the longest current in the nation. A trey by Oleksiak opened the lead up to 11, 42-31, with 14:53 left to play. In fact, at one point, Hines and Oleksiak combined to score 22 straight points for the Spartans. The streak was broken when Pete Brown knocked down a 12-footer to give UNCG its largest lead to that point, 49-34.
UNCG closes out its three-game homestand on Monday night when it hosts The Citadel for a 7 pm tip.
FREE THROWS: Mikko Koivisto returned to the line-up on Saturday. Koivisto missed a game for the first time in his career on Wednesday with an injury to his right ankle, which he suffered in the win at UNC Wilmington. He practiced on a limited basis on Thursday, but return to full practice routine on Friday. He finished with three points in 16 minutes of action... Kevin Oleksiak became the 27th player to surpass the century mark in career games played. Kyle Hines did it last Wednesday and Dwayne Johnson is expected to surpass it on Monday... UNCG beat Georgia Southern for the third straight time and now holds an 8-6 lead in the all-time series. The Eagles are 3-3 all-time at Fleming... Hines now has 292 blocks in his career, 16 shy of the SoCon record... In the Davidson game on Thursday, Georgia Southern began the game just 1-for-11 from the floor. Last week against No. 25 Rhode Island, the Eagles dug themselves a 29-6 hole before rallying to within three points with two minutes to play.
UNCG 79, GEORGIA SOUTHERN 67
GEORGIA SOUTHERN (9-5, 2-2 SoCon)
Louis Graham 7-16 9-13 24; Julian Allen 7-11 2-2 17; Matthew Fields 4-5 2-2 10; Willie Powers 3-16 1-2 8; Dwayne Foreman 2-11 0-0 6; Anthony Marshall 0-3 2-2 2; Trumaine Pearson 0-0 0-0 0; Kenith Ward 0-0 0-0 0; Antoine Johnson 0-4 0-0 0; Johntavius Rucker 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-66 16-21 67.
UNCG (8-4, 2-1 SoCon)
Kevin Oleksiak 7-16 10-12 29; Ben Stywall 6-10 4-5 16; Kyle Hines 5-8 5-5 15; Dwayne Johnson 1-2 3-6 6; Kendall Toney 2-6 0-0 6; Mikko Koivisto 1-4 0-0 3; Daniel Oliver 0-0 2-2 2; Pete Brown 1-2 0-1 2; Davor Galic 0-2 0-0 0; Landon Clement 0-1 0-0 0; Darrius Sellers 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-51 24-31 79.
Halftime: UNCG 27-26. 3-point goals--Georgia Southern 5-19 (Dwayne Foreman 2-9; Willie Powers 1-5; Julian Allen 1-1; Louis Graham 1-2; Anthony Marshall 0-2), UNCG 9-21 (Kevin Oleksiak 5-11; Kendall Toney 2-4; Dwayne Johnson 1-2; Mikko Koivisto 1-2; Davor Galic 0-1; Ben Stywall 0-1). Fouled out--Georgia Southern-Anthony Marshall; Dwayne Foreman, UNCG-Kyle Hines; Pete Brown. Rebounds—Georgia Southern 41 (Louis Graham 10), UNCG 38 (Kendall Toney 9). Assists—Georgia Southern 11 (Dwayne Foreman 5), UNCG 15 (Dwayne Johnson 5; Kevin Oleksiak 5). Total fouls--Georgia Southern 25, UNCG 21. Technical fouls—Georgia Southern-None, UNCG-None. A-982
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