GREENSBORO, NC – Tyler Troupe had a career-high 23 points, 16 of them in the second half when Georgia Southern shot 59 percent from the floor, as the Eagles defeated UNC Greensboro, 72-63, in Southern Conference men's basketball action Thursday night at Fleming Gym.
Ben Drayton also had a career-high 21 for Eagles (5-8, 3-2), which overcame a seven-point first half deficit and then held off a late UNCG charge.
Junior forward Ben Stywall had his fiifth double-double of the season for the Spartans (2-12, 1-4) with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Four his double-doubles have come in league play this season. He also recorded his 500t h career rebound in the game, making the Charlotte, NC native the ninth Spartan to ever achieve the milestone. Mikko Koivsto and Landon Clement each added 11 points for UNCG.
UNCG had trailed by as many as 13 in the second half, but got back in it thanks to seven straight points by Clement. Trailing by five with 2:12 to play, Clement was fouled. He made the front end of the bonus to make it 66-62. But on the ensuing possession, Troupe knocked down a three-pointer from the left corner to take the margin back to seven with 1:42 to play.
The Eagles overcame a sluggish opening half to shoot 19-for-32 in the second half, although they finished the night just 8-of-30 from three-point range.
"The turnovers came back on us again," said UNCG coach Mike Dement. "I thought we were maybe ready to get past that after the way we played the other night, but then we struggled with it tonight, struggling against some of their pressure and stuff. We also missed a couple of blockouts on rebounds that hurt us badly."
Neither team shot particularly well in the opening half. UNCG made just 9-of-25 from the floor, while the Eagles were just 10-of-35 from the field. The Spartans opened up a seven-point lead midway through the first half, 17-10, but a 10-0 run by the Eagles erased that. Still, the Spartans managed to take a two-point advantage into the locker room, 29-27.
The teams came out of the locker room and went back and forth for the first 10 minutes of the second half with six ties and three lead changes in that time. The Eagles opened up their biggest lead to that point at 50-44 with 9:46 to play. Antoine Johnson scored on a put back and was fouled. He missed the free throw, but Tyler Troupe took advantage of a missed block out and jammed it home for a six-point advantage.
That was the beginning of an 11-0 run for the Eagles that opened the lead up to 13 with 8:35 to play. The Spartans cut it to seven with five straight points by Koivisto heading into the eight-minute media timeout. The Eagles started to pull away again, but Clement scored seven straight for UNCG to help put them back to within five with 3:01 to play, 66-61.
The Spartans return to action on Saturday when they visit backyard rival Elon for a 7 pm tip.
GEORGIA SOUTHERN 72, UNCG 63
GEORGIA SOUTHERN (5-8, 3-2)
Tyler Troupe 9-17 2-2 23; Ben Drayton 8-13 1-2 21; Antoine Johnson 5-7 1-4 11; Julian Allen 3-10 0-0 6; Kenith Ward 2-2 0-1 4; Anthony Marshall 1-7 1-2 4; Sandy Perry 1-3 0-0 2; Antonio Hanson 0-8 1-2 1; Colby Wohlleb 0-0 0-0 0; Trumaine Pearson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-67 6-13 72.
UNCG (2-12, 1-4)
Ben Stywall 4-7 6-9 14; Landon Clement 4-8 1-2 11; Mikko Koivisto 4-13 0-0 11; Damian Eargle 2-5 1-4 5; Daniel Oliver 1-4 2-2 5; Montel Smith 1-3 3-4 5; Pete Brown 1-2 2-2 4; Deangelo Jackson 1-2 1-2 3; Kendall Toney 1-5 0-0 3; Elhanan Bone 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 20-50 16-25 63.
Halftime: UNCG 29-27. 3-point goals--Georgia Southern 8-30 (Ben Drayton 4-7; Tyler Troupe 3-8; Anthony Marshall 1-4; Sandy Perry 0-1; Antonio Hanson 0-7; Julian Allen 0-2; Antoine Johnson 0-1), UNCG 7-24 (Mikko Koivisto 3-11; Landon Clement 2-4; Kendall Toney 1-5; Daniel Oliver 1-3; Montel Smith 0-1). Fouled out—Georgia Southern-None, UNCG-Daniel Oliver. Rebounds--Georgia Southern 38 (Tyler Troupe 8), UNCG 40 (Ben Stywall 13). Assists--Georgia Southern 15 (Ben Drayton 5), UNCG 8 (Mikko Koivisto 3). Total fouls--Georgia Southern 18, UNCG 19. Technical fouls--Georgia Southern-None, UNCG-None. A-687
FREE THROWS: Georgia Southern is one team that will be sad to see the Spartans leave Fleming Gym next season. The Eagles are 4-3 all-time at Fleming... Koivisto is one point shy of 750 for his career... Georgia Southern was playing its first game since learning that it had lost leading scorer Willie Powers for the season to an ACL tear... Georgia Southern had allowed 70 or more points in eight of the last nine games before Thursday... The loss was UNCG's fourth in a row at Fleming Gym.
- UNCG -