PRINCETON, NJ – UNC Greensboro trimmed a 15-point deficit to three with just over a minute to play, but Princeton made 11 of 12 free throws in the final minute to hold on for a 65-55 win Saturday afternoon at Jadwin Gym.
Dan Mavraides led the way with 17 points and seven rebounds, including 6-of-6 at the foul line for Princeton. Doug Davis added 15 points and Kareem Maddox chipped in with 10 points.
UNCG got 13 points and eight rebounds from Ben Stywall, one of three Spartans scoring in double figures on Saturday. Mikko Koivisto added 11 points and Daniel Oliver chipped in with a career-high with 10 points.
The Spartans committed only 12 turnovers, six below their average this season, but shout just 29.6 percent from the floor on the afternoon. UNCG turned 12 offensive rebounds into just nine second-chance points and surrendered 13 offensive boards to the Tigers.
"They had some kids make free throws down the stretch that haven't been," said UNCG coach Mike Dement. "We missed a key free throw block out with about a minute and a half left and that allowed them to run more time off the clock at a key time and get someone else back to the foul line.
"I thought they were hungrier than we were today. Our kids competed to get back into the game, but we didn't make the plays to finish strong. We went to the press and we were able to get some things. We tried to mix some defenses with them. Princeton's offense really spreads you out and I don't think we defended it real well."
UNCG held Princeton (3-8) to one field goal in a six-minute span to rally from down 45-33. The Spartans cut it to five with six minutes to play on Mikko Koivisto's steal and bucket off full court pressure, 49-44.
Still trailing by five with 2:08 to play, Ben Stywall drove the lane and was fouled. He made one of two to cut it to 53-49. Following a Princeton miss, though, the rebound went out of bounds off UNCG and the Tigers got a fresh shot clock with 1:35 to play. The Tigers chased down a long rebound after a tip sequence and UNCG committed its sixth team foul to stop the clock with 1:16 to play.
Zach Finley hit the front end of the bonus, but the rebound again went out off UNCG. This time, Koivisto stole the insuing in-bounds and drove to the basket, getting fouled. He hit both shots to make it a three-point game with 1:08 left, the closest UNCG had come since the opening minutes.
But the Tigers made their free throws in the final 60 seconds – 11 of 12 to be exact – to snap a six-game losing skid. UNCG (1-10) lost its ninth straight.
The Spartans dug themselves an early hole. After scoring the first basket of the game, Princeton scored 15 of the next 16 points as UNCG went seven minutes without a field goal. Daniel Oliver, who had scored the first bucket of the game, broke the drought with a trey from the left wing with 12:27 to play in the half.
UNCG chipped away to get back in it, though. After missing six straight shots during the drought, the Spartans made four of their next eight to get back to within eight. Mikko Koivisto's three-pointer made it 21-13 with 8:58 left in the opening half.
The Tigers answered with a 9-2 spurt, capped off by consecutive buckets by Doug Davis, pushed the margin back to 15 with five minutes to go. Davis scored 13 of the Tigers' first 30 points. But UNCG had an answer of its own with eight straight points to get back to within seven late in the half. Koivisto's runner at the buzzer kept it at seven at the intermission, 32-25.
The Spartans did a better job on Davis in the second half, holding him to just two points, but the rally came up short.
UNCG is back in action on Thursday when it returns to conference play at Western Carolina. Game time is set for 7 pm.
PRINCETON 65, UNCG 55
Ben Stywall 3-9 7-8 13; Mikko Koivisto 3-9 4-6 11; Daniel Oliver 2-5 5-7 10; Kendall Toney 3-9 0-0 8; Deangelo Jackson 2-8 0-0 4; Montel Smith 1-4 2-4 4; Landon Clement 1-4 0-0 2; Pete Brown 1-5 0-0 2; Damian Eargle 0-1 1-2 1. Totals 16-54 19-27 55.
Dan Mavraides 5-11 6-6 17; Doug Davis 6-16 0-0 15; Kareem Maddox 4-8 1-2 10; John Comfort 2-2 1-2 6; Pawel Buczak 1-3 4-6 6; Zach Finley 1-5 3-4 5; Marcus Schroeder 1-5 2-3 4; Nick Lake 1-3 0-0 2; Bobby Foley 0-0 0-0 0; Jason Briggs 0-1 0-0 0; Max Huc 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 21-55 17-23 65.
Halftime: Princeton 32-25. 3-point goals--UNCG 4-17 (Kendall Toney 2-7; Daniel Oliver 1-1; Mikko Koivisto 1-5; Landon Clement 0-3; Montel Smith 0-1), Princeton 6-21 (Doug Davis 3-9; John Comfort 1-1; Kareem Maddox 1-2; Dan Mavraides 1-4; Nick Lake 0-2; Marcus Schroeder 0-3). Fouled out--UNCG-None, Princeton-Pawel Buczak. Rebounds--UNCG 39 (Deangelo Jackson 9), Princeton 43 (Pawel Buczak 10). Assists--UNCG 6 (Montel Smith 2), Princeton 9 (Pawel Buczak 3; Marcus Schroeder 3). Total fouls--UNCG 21, Princeton 20. Technical fouls--UNCG-None, Princeton-None. A-1900
FREE THROWS: Saturday's game at Princeton marked the third straight game for the Spartans against a team ranked in the Top 40 in scoring defense. The Tigers entered the game 36th in the nation in scoring defense at 60.1 ppg... Princeton basketball legend Pete Carill was in attendance at Saturday's game. Carill, who will have the Jadwin Gym court named after him later this season, coached the Tigers from 1967-1996, winning more than 500 games during that time... Elhanan Bone did not dress for Saturday's game. The training staff put his injured right ankle in a boot Thursday night, deciding to rest it for a few days to see if it gets better for next week's return to conference play. Walk-on Sean Spooner also did not make the trip due to illness. He is expected to be back for next week... Saturday's game was UNCG's first against a member of the Ivy League since December 29, 1994 when the Spartans faced Harvard at the Pepsi Iona Classic.
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