Late rally falls short as UNCG falls at Kent State
KENT, OH – Tyree Evans scored 18 of his 21 points in the second half and Kent State held off a late Spartan rally for a 73-62 victory over UNC Greensboro in men's basketball action Thursday night at the MAC Center.
It was a tale of two halves for UNCG – a theme that has
seemed to be recurring in the last few games for the Spartans. The
Golden Flashes outscored the Spartans 35-12 over the first 13
minutes of the second half. Although this time, UNCG had a late
rally in them, cutting a 20-point margin to seven with three
minutes to play. But the Golden Flashes held on for the win by
scoring on five straight possessions to weather the Spartans'
Kent State (5-5) used a 21-3 run to erase a five-point Spartan advantage. The Golden Flashes scored the last bucket of the first half and then scored 16 of the first 19 points to open the second half. UNCG had held a 32-27 lead in the closing second of the first half.
Evans, a junior from Richmond, VA, was making his debut for Kent State after sitting out the first nine games this season due to NCAA eligibility issues. He was 7-of-11 from the floor, including 5-for-8 from three-point range.
Kendall Toney was the only Spartan in double figures. The junior from Charlotte, NC had 14 points off the bench, including four three-pointers. Montel Smith added nine points for UNCG (1-7).
Brandon Parks chipped in with 17 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the floor for the Golden Flashes. Al Fischer added 11 points and Chris Singletary had 10 points, 10 rebounds and eight steals.
"I thought they really turned it up a notch in the second half and really got after us," said UNCG coach Mike Dement. "We had worked our way into the lead going into the half and then we came out and struggled to score for about eight minutes. We've done that a lot lately, we're in the game and then all of a sudden we fall apart a little bit. The other teams start getting shots. Tonight, though, I thought our guys fought back pretty well, cutting it to seven with the ball.
"They had four guys in double figures tonight and we only had one and that has been happening a lot lately. So obviously we have to improve our defense and we need to find some guys that can score. We are missing some easy shots, but again, I think they really turned up their pressure and made it more difficult for us to get some of those easy shots."
Kent State looked to get a little separation midway through the first half, running off six straight points to break a 10-10 tie. But the Spartans came right back with an 8-2 run to tie it, including a trey by Mikko Koivisto to extend his streak to 32 straight games with a three-pointer – the third-longest streak in the nation currently.
UNCG got its first lead of the night late in the first half. Kendall Toney knocked down a deep three-pointer from the left wing to give the Spartans a 30-27 advantage with 90 seconds left before the break. UNCG took that three-point lead to the locker room, 32-29.
But UNCG had just one field goal in a nearly eight minute span to open the second half as Kent State opened up the first double-digit lead for either team. Points off turnovers, which has been a thorn in the Spartans' side in the early part of the season, helped lead to the Golden Flashes' run. After just two points off Spartan miscues in the first half, Kent State had 10 in the first eight minutes of the second half.
The Spartans chipped away at the lead late. After a three-pointer by Evans stretched the lead to 64-44, UNCG ran off seven straight to get back to within 13 with 5:33 to play. Two Koivisto free throws followed and made it 64-53 with 4:24 to play. Then a Damian Eargle put-back got the margin back to single-digits with four minutes to go and things started to get interesting.
After a pair of missed free throws by the Singletary, Pete Brown's jump hook in the lane made it 64-57 with three minutes left. But Kent State scored on its next five possessions to put the game away.
The Spartans complete their weekend trip to Ohio on Satutrday night when they visit Dayton for an 8 pm tip.
KENT STATE 73, UNCG 62
Kendall Toney 5-9 0-0 14; Montel Smith 2-5 4-4 9; Pete Brown 4-7 0-1 8; Elhanan Bone 3-6 2-2 8; Mikko Koivisto 2-9 2-2 7; Landon Clement 2-8 0-0 6; Daniel Oliver 1-4 2-2 5; Ben Stywall 1-4 1-2 3; Damian Eargle 1-4 0-0 2; DeAngelo Jackson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-56 11-13 62.
KENT STATE (5-5)
Tyree Evans 7-11 2-2 21; Brandon Parks 8-9 1-2 17; Al Fisher 4-12 2-2 11; Chris Singletary 5-10 0-2 10; Julian Sullinger 3-4 2-2 8; Anthony Simpson 1-6 2-4 4; Jordan Mincy 1-2 0-0 2; Alex Grimsley 0-0 0-0 0; Frank Henry-Ala 0-0 0-0 0; Rashad Woods 0-2 0-0 0; Justin Greene 0-0 0-0 0; Mike Mckee 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-56 9-14 73.
Halftime: UNCG 32-29. 3-point goals--UNCG 9-22 (Kendall Toney 4-7; Landon Clement 2-5; Mikko Koivisto 1-5; Montel Smith 1-2; Daniel Oliver 1-3), Kent State 6-15 (Tyree Evans 5-8; Al Fisher 1-4; Chris Singletary 0-1; Rashad Woods 0-2). Fouled out--UNCG-None, Kent State-None. Rebounds--UNCG 33 (Elhanan Bone 10), Kent State 33 (Anthony Simpson 11). Assists--UNCG 13 (Mikko Koivisto 4), Kent State 19 (Chris Singletary 10). Total fouls--UNCG 14, Kent State 13. Technical fouls--UNCG-None, Kent State-None. A-2463
FREE THROWS: UNCG's nine three-pointers tied a season-high. The Spartans were 6-for-12 in the first half, but just 3-for-10 in the second half... After allowing just two points off seven turnovers in the first half, UNCG surrendered 19 off 11 turnovers in the second half to make for the seventh time in eight games that the opposition has scored 20 or more points off miscues... Mike Hardiman was a late scratch on Thursday. He has been hampered by a sore foot for the last couple of weeks and it flared up on him this week, leaving the Spartans with 11 in uniform on Thursday night... Damian Eargle got the nod in the starting lineup on Saturday night for his return to his home state. Eargle is a native of Harding, OH, about 150 miles east of Kent. He was greeted by a cheering section of close to 100 behind the UNCG bench when he was introduced... Daniel Oliver got his first start of the season on Thursday night, making for the seventh different starting lineup in the eight games this season... While walking from the locker room onto the court Thursday night, Mike Dement was greeted by an old friend. Kent State athletic director Liang Kennedy gave Dement his first head coaching job at Cornell in 1988 when he was the AD there.
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