Late surge falls short as Furman tops UNCG, 59-54
GREENVILLE, SC – A great start by UNC Greensboro disappeared in a 29-5 stretch and Furman held off a late charge to top the Spartans, 59-54, in Southern Conference men's basketball action at Timmons Arena on Monday night.
UNCG led 16-7 midway through the first half, but managed just two field goals over the next 15 minutes as Furman erased the nine-point deficit and turned it into its own 15-point lead early in the second half. Neil Duval's lay-up with 17:37 left made it 36-21 in favor of Furman.
The Spartans quickly turned to full court pressure to try to make up ground and got the deficit back to six with 10 minutes to go on a Damian Eargle put back. Furman extended the last back to 12 by scoring the next six points, but UNCG made another charge. The Spartans closed to within four with five minutes left and got it down to three in the final minute. However, Furman's Bryson Barnes hit two free throws with 35 seconds left to put the game away.
Jordan Miller finished with a game-high 19 points for the Paladins (3-15, 1-8 SoCon), who snapped a seven-game losing skid. Barnes finished with 10 points in 19 minutes off the bench.
UNCG got 12 points from Eargle and 11 points from Mikko Koivisto. Ben Stywall equaled a season-high with 14 rebounds. The Spartans shot 56.5 percent from the floor in the second half – the ninth straight SoCon opponent to shoot 50 percent or better in the second half against the Paladins – but were hurt by 7-of-20 shooting from the charity stripe.
The Paladins opened the game with a quick three-pointer, but the Spartans scored the next 10 to get out to an early lead, five of those points coming from Eargle. Furman missed eight straight shots in the 10-0 run.
The Paladins slowly chipped away. Connor Nolte's three-pointer with 8:43 left in the half gave Furman a 17-16 advantage and came in the midst of a 21-2 run by the Paladins. UNCG had just one field goal in nearly 10 minutes after the good start.
The Spartans didn't help themselves with three missed front end of one-and-ones in the opening half as Furman took a 30-21 lead into the locker room.
UNCG outrebounded Furman 43-36 on the night, including 19 offensive rebounds. As a result, UNCG had 34 of its 54 points in the paint. The difference was the free throw line, though, where Furman was 18-of-27.
The Spartans stay on the road for a weekend set in Charleston. UNCG faces College of Charleston on Thursday night at 7 pm.
FURMAN 59, UNCG 54
UNCG (3-15, 2-7 SoCon)
Damian Eargle 5-8 2-3 12; Mikko Koivisto 3-11 3-4 11; Ben Stywall 4-12 1-6 9; Kendall Toney 3-8 0-0 7; Pete Brown 3-4 0-2 6; Deangelo Jackson 2-5 1-4 5; Sean Spooner 1-3 0-0 2; Montel Smith 1-1 0-1 2; Landon Clement 0-1 0-0 0; Daniel Oliver 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 22-54 7-20 54.
FURMAN (3-15, 1-8 SoCon)
Jordan Miller 7-12 2-2 19; Bryson Barnes 3-6 4-6 10; Alex Opacic 3-4 2-2 8; Connor Nolte 1-5 1-3 4; Brandon Sebirumbi 1-3 2-2 4; Justin Dehm 0-4 4-4 4; Tony Anderson 1-7 0-2 3; Neil Duval 1-4 1-2 3; Chris Toler 1-1 0-2 2; Noah States 0-4 2-2 2. Totals 18-50 18-27 59.
Halftime: Furman 30-21. 3-point goals--UNCG 3-10 (Mikko Koivisto 2-6; Kendall Toney 1-3; Landon Clement 0-1), Furman 5-20 (Jordan Miller 3-5; Tony Anderson 1-5; Connor Nolte 1-4; Justin Dehm 0-4; Noah States 0-1; Alex Opacic 0-1). Fouled out--UNCG-None, Furman-Brandon Sebirumbi. Rebounds--UNCG 43 (Ben Stywall 14), Furman 36 (Noah States 8). Assists--UNCG 13 (Ben Stywall 4), Furman 13 (Tony Anderson 6). Total fouls--UNCG 21, Furman 23. Technical fouls--UNCG-None, Furman-None. A-874
FREE THROWS: Koivisto had a streak of 19 consecutive made free throws snapped with a miss early in the second half. He hadn't missed yet in a conference game before that (17-for-17)... It was the only meeting of the year between the two schools. The SoCon slate is a double-round robin with the except of two crossover teams, those being Wofford and Furman in UNCG's case... the "hometown" team has now won 14 of 15 meetings in the series (there was one conf. tournament meeting in North Charleston, SC two years ago)... the loss was UNCG's 13th straight when trailing at the half going back to last season... The series between UNCG coach Mike Dement and Furman coach Jeff Jackson is now tied 3-3. The two worked together as assistants at Cornell 25 years ago.
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