Spartans blow out UNCW on the road, 72-55
WILMINGTON, NC – Three Spartans scored in double figures as UNC Greensboro picked up its third straight win with a 72-55 triumph over UNC Wilmington on Saturday night at Trask Coliseum.
Seniors Kyle Hines and Kevin Oleksiak shared team-high honors with 16 points each for the Spartans (6-4). Mikko Koivisto added 11 points. Hines had nine rebounds, leaving him one board shy of his fourth straight double-double despite missing seven minutes with a cut lip that required stitches. Oleksiak also added seven rebounds. Senior guard Dwayne Johnson dished out a season-high eight assists.
With the nine rebounds, Hines moved into second place on the school’s career rebounding list. The All-America candidate from Sicklerville, NJ now has 864 rebounds, surpassing Eric Cuthrell’s 859. He also extended his streak of scoring 10 or more points in a game to 60 straight games - the longest current streak in the nation.
Todd Hendley had a game-high 20 points for UNCW (8-5), while Daniel Fountain added 12 points.
“That’s a great win for us tonight,” said UNCG coach Mike Dement. “Anytime you come into a place where they have had a lot of success, it is a huge win. We caught a break that their students aren’t here, but it is still a tough place to win and a good team that we faced tonight.
“We got after it defensively early, and that was huge for us so that we would survive our own drought late when Kyle went out. We didn’t score for a while and we have to learn how to score when he isn’t in there. But with the way they have been shooting the basketball, I knew we would have to get after them in order to have a chance tonight and we did that.”
Five Seahawk turnovers in the first six minutes of the contest helped UNCG open up the first lead of the night, 13-6. As the Seahawks went nearly seven minutes without a basket against UNCG’s match-up zone, the Spartans’ Dwayne Johnson got left alone on a ball screen at the top of the key and knocked that down to give the Spartans an 18-7 advantage with 12:29 left in the opening half.
After UNCW cut it to seven with back-to-back buckets to break the drought, the Spartans ran off 11 in a row to stretch the lead to 18. Highlighted by back-to-back three-pointers by Mikko Koivisto, UNCG lengthened the lead to 29-11. The Spartans opened the game 7-for-20 from the floor, but then made 17 of their next 25 from the floor to blow the game wide open.
UNCG was able to maintain that margin for the remainder of the opening half, taking a 43-25 lead to the locker room, and kept that momentum going into the early part of the second half. Eight straight points by the Spartans drew a pair of quick UNCW timeouts and saw the lead go to 26.
UNCW cut into the lead late after Hines left the game to have a cut in his mouth patched up which he suffered during a loose ball battle and Koivisto was lost to an ankle injury. Todd Hendley’s three-pointer with 6:15 left cut it to 63-48. Daniel Fountain followed that up with another three from the right wing and the UNCG lead was down to 12.
Hines checked back into the game with 3:15 to play and he promptly swatted a T.J. Carter shot on UNCW’s next possession. It was finally at the two-minute mark that Kendall Toney’s breakaway lay-up broke an eight-minute Spartan dry-spell and the Seahawks were left to foul. The Spartans were 7-for-9 from the line in the final two minutes to put it away.
UNCG’s 18-point halftime lead was its largest at the break since December 16, 2005. It was the largest halftime lead on the road since November 27, 2001 and the first time the Spartans held a double-digit halftime advantage on the road since January 17, 2004. The Spartans shot 53 percent from the floor in the opening half to open up the early lead for the easy win.
The Spartans, who began a span of six games in 15 days with Saturday night’s tilt, will host Central Arkansas to begin 2008 on Wednesday night at Fleming Gym. The first of three straight home games, game time is set for 7 pm.
FREE THROWS: Looking down the sideline, head coach Mike Dement could see a familiar face on the opposing bench. Brooks Lee, an assistant on Dement’s staff at UNCG the last two seasons, was seated on the UNCW staff with his new squad. Lee shared a laugh with the Spartan coaching staff on Saturday afternoon prior to the Spartans’ shootaround. After the game, Dement joked about how UNCW had been running a lot of UNCG’s plays. “I told Brooks I recognized a lot of the stuff they were running. I told him I might have to put in a few new plays this week so he wouldn’t know everything we were running"... Despite being sister schools, Saturday was only the fourth time the two programs have met on the hardwood. The game was a return of last year’s BracketBusters matchup. Prior to last season, the teams had only met in November of 1990 and 1991. In fact, UNCG’s first win as a Division I program was over UNCW at Fleming Gym on Nov. 25, 1991... UNCG used the same starting lineup (Koivisto, Oleksiak, Johnson, Stywall, Hines) for the seventh straight game on Saturday night and the ninth time in 10 outings this season. That is in stark contrast to last year when UNCG used no lineup more than nine games and had 12 different starting combinations... Speaking of stark contrasts, that was how one could describe Trask Coliseum on Saturday night. Normally a raucous venue – one that has been declared by many coaches, players and media as the toughest place to play in the CAA – it was relatively peaceful on Saturday night in contrast with the student population home on semester break. The attendance was announced at 5,208.
UNCG 72, UNC WILMINGTON 55
Kyle Hines 8-13 0-1 16; Kevin Oleksiak 5-12 3-4 16; Mikko Koivisto 3-5 2-2 11; Kendall Toney 3-5 0-0 8; Dwayne Johnson 2-9 2-5 7; Ben Stywall 3-9 0-0 6; Landon Clement 0-1 4-4 4; Pete Brown 1-2 0-0 2; Daniel Oliver 1-2 0-0 2; Davor Galic 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-58 11-16 72.
UNC WILMINGTON (8-5)
Todd Hendley 9-15 0-0 20; Daniel Fountain 4-14 1-2 12; T.J. Carter 4-11 2-2 10; Vladimir Kuljanin 3-8 0-0 6; Montez Downey 1-3 0-0 3; Dominique Lacy 1-4 0-0 2; Marlo Davis 1-2 0-0 2; Josh Sheets 0-2 0-0 0; Chad Tomko 0-1 0-0 0; Darion Jeralds 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 23-62 3-4 55.
Halftime: UNCG 43-25. 3-point goals--UNCG 9-23 (Kevin Oleksiak 3-6; Mikko Koivisto 3-4; Kendall Toney 2-3; Dwayne Johnson 1-4; Daniel Oliver 0-1; Landon Clement 0-1; Ben Stywall 0-3; Kyle Hines 0-1), UNC Wilmington 6-22 (Daniel Fountain 3-9; Todd Hendley 2-4; Montez Downey 1-2; Dominique Lacy 0-1; Josh Sheets 0-2; Chad Tomko 0-1; Darion Jeralds 0-1; T.J. Carter 0-2). Fouled out--UNCG-None, UNC Wilmington-Daniel Fountain. Rebounds--UNCG 36 (Kyle Hines 9), UNC Wilmington 37 (Vladimir Kuljanin 12). Assists--UNCG 15 (Dwayne Johnson 8), UNC Wilmington 14 (T.J. Carter 5). Total fouls--UNCG 9, UNC Wilmington 17. Technical fouls--UNCG-TEAM, UNC Wilmington-None. A-5208
- UNCG -