CHARLOTTE, NC – An 8-0 run late in the first half broke open a tight game and Charlotte went on from there for a 77-59 win over UNC Greensboro in the men's basketball season opener for both teams at Halton Arena on Friday night.
It was the first meeting between the schools in 12 years and just the second in the last 38. Both teams overcame slow starts in their shooting, but it was Charlotte that got the better result. The 49ers were 18-for-38 from the field after an 8-0 run late in the half gave them a 30-17 lead.
"We did a pretty good job with them in the first half, keeping them in a halfcourt game," said UNCG coach Mike Dement. "We didn't do as good of a job in the second half, I thought, and that really hurt us."
Lamont Mack had a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead four 49ers in double-figures. An'Juan Wilderness chipped in 15 points.
Junior Mikko Koivisto had 12 points, including three 3-pointers to extend his streak to 25 straight games with a trey. Sophomore Landon Clement led UNCG with a career-high 13 points.
"Tonight was the first college game for quite a few of our guys," said Koivisto of his team that saw six Spartans play in their first Division I contest. "I am sure there were some nerves out there, no question. But the good thing is that it is behind them now. I am sure they will all feel more comfortable when we get back home and play on Monday."
After Charlotte jumped out to an early 9-2 lead, the Spartans gained their footing. A Koivisto trey from the left wing pulled the Spartans back to within 11-9 as the game turned five minutes old.
The Spartans hung around for a while, mainly keeping it close with a tenacious defense. The 49ers shot near 20 percent for a good portion of the first half from the floor, but eight straight points broke the game open, 30-17, with 4:03 left in the opening half. That margin held there into the intermission with Charlotte holding a 40-27 lead.
With the score at 48-34 with 14 minutes to play, Charlotte ran off eight straight to open up a 22-point lead with 11:59 to go. Wilderness scored four of the eight in the spurt.
UNCG cut the deficit back to 14 with a 10-2 run of its own, capped off by a Kendall Toney 3-pointer. But that is as close as UNCG would come down the stretch.
The Spartans return to action Monday for their home opener, hosting Webber International for a 7 pm tip.
CHARLOTTE 77, UNCG 59
UNCG (0-1) - Landon Clement 4-8 2-2 13; Mikko Koivisto 4-9 1-1 12; Elhanan Bone 3-4 3-4 9; Pete Brown 3-7 0-0 6; Kendall Toney 2-8 0-0 5; Ben Stywall 1-3 2-2 4; Daniel Oliver 0-5 4-4 4; Deangelo Jackson 1-4 0-2 2; Montel Smith 1-2 0-0 2; Damian Eargle 1-2 0-0 2; Sean Spooner 0-0 0-0 0; Mike Hardiman 0-0 0-1 0. Totals 20-52 12-16 59.
CHARLOTTE (1-0) - Lamont Mack 5-17 7-8 18; An'Juan Wilderness 5-9 5-6 15; Rashad Coleman 6-11 0-0 14; Phil Jones 2-4 7-8 11; Charles Dewhurst 3-4 2-2 8; Dijuan Harris 1-2 2-2 4; Ian Andersen 1-5 0-0 3; Javarris Barnett 1-3 0-0 2; Charlie Coley 1-4 0-0 2; Kyle Church 0-0 0-0 0; Gaby Ngoundjo 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 25-60 23-26 77.
Halftime: Charlotte 40-27. 3-point goals--UNCG 7-20 (Mikko Koivisto 3-6; Landon Clement 3-6; Kendall Toney 1-4; Ben Stywall 0-1; Daniel Oliver 0-2; Montel Smith 0-1), Charlotte 4-18 (Rashad Coleman 2-6; Ian Andersen 1-4; Lamont Mack 1-5; Javarris Barnett 0-1; Charlie Coley 0-1; An'Juan Wilderness 0-1). Fouled out--UNCG-Damian Eargle, Charlotte-None. Rebounds--UNCG 32 (Ben Stywall 7), Charlotte 39 (Lamont Mack 10). Assists--UNCG 7 (Ben Stywall 2; Mikko Koivisto 2), Charlotte 14 (Dijuan Harris 6). Total fouls--UNCG 19, Charlotte 18. Technical fouls--UNCG-None, Charlotte-None. A-7273
FREE THROWS: For historical sake, DeAngelo Jackson made his first collegiate basket the first basket of the season for the Spartans... For anyone wanting to know what rotations would look like for the Spartans in the early part of the season – UNCG used 10 players in the first 3:45 of the game – they make up the 10 scholarship players that UNCG has in uniform this season (with Darrius Sellers out for the season due to injury and Brandon Evans sitting out for transfer)... UNCG is now 15-27 all-time in season openers... The Spartans have opened the season on the road 15 times in the last 18 seasons.
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