UNCG rally falls short at Elon despite Stywall's double-double
ELON, N.C. - Senior forward Ben Stywall recorded his 12th double-double of the year, but it wasn't enough to help UNC Greensboro climb out of a 16-point hole in a 70-65 loss at Elon on Wednesday night in Southern Conference men's basketball action.
Elon had four players in double figures, led by Drew Spradlin's 14 points. Terrance Birdette added 12 points, including 5-of-6 from the foul line. Adam Constantine added 11 points and Chris Long chipped in with 10 points and five assists.
UNCG cut a 16-point lead down to five midway through the second half and were as close as four in the closing seconds, but dropped its fifth-straight and saw its winning streak against the backyard rival Phoenix snapped. UNCG had won seven straight overall and three in a row at Alumni Gym.
Stywall finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds for his league-leading 12th double-double of the year and the 24th of his career. Stywall pulled his 900th career rebound in the game, making him just the third Spartan to achieve the mark. He now has 910 in his career.
Mikko Koivisto added 19 points, including six three-pointers, before fouling out in the final seconds. He scored nine of his points in final four minutes as UNCG tried to pull together one more late rally.
Kendall Toney, who added 11 points, cut the Elon lead to five with 43 seconds left on a three-pointer from the right wing. But the Phoenix hit 13-of-16 from the free throw line over the final 4:36 to hold on for the win.
UNCG led wire-to-wire in the first meeting three weeks earlier. The Spartans found themselves out of an early hole, however, on Wednesday night, trailing by as many 12 in the opening half.
Both teams were slow out of the gates, Elon making 2-of-8 from the floor to open, while the Spartans missed their first eight attempts before a Koivisto trey more than five minutes into the game.
Drew Spradlin's three-pointer with 4:57 left in the first half was part of a 13-4 run and gave the Phoenix the first double-digit lead of the night, 28-18. A dunk by Adam Constantine a little more than a minute later extended the lead to 12.
The Elon lead stayed at 12 at the intermission and Elon scored the first two buckets of the second half to stretch the lead to 39-23 nearly two minutes in.
The Spartans rallied to cut the margin to five with an 18-5 run, with Stywall scoring eight of the points, including the first six to start the run. His last bucket made it 46-41 with 10:22 to play.
But the Phoenix slowly stretched the lead back to 10 as T.J. Douglas knocked down a three-pointer from the right corner with 4:36 to play.
That was Elon's final field goal of the night, but the Phoenix made 13-of-16 from the charity stripe to hold off one more late Spartan charge.
UNCG's three-game road swing continues on Saturday when the Spartans visit The Citadel for a 1 p.m. tip. The game will televised by SportSouth.
ELON 70, UNCG 65
UNCG (5-21, 4-11)
Ben Stywall 9-15 4-7 22; Mikko Koivisto 6-15 1-2 19; Kendall Toney 4-7 0-0 11; Pete Brown 3-4 0-0 6; Kyle Randall 1-9 1-2 3; Brian Cole 1-3 0-0 2; Brandon Evans 0-3 2-2 2; Deangelo Jackson 0-0 0-0 0; Elhanan Bone 0-1 0-0 0; Korey Van Dussen 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 24-59 8-13 65.
ELON (7-19, 5-10)
Drew Spradlin 3-10 5-8 14; Terrance Birdette 3-6 5-6 12; Adam Constantine 3-5 5-6 11; Chris Long 3-8 3-4 10; Devan Carter 3-8 0-0 6; Tj Douglas 2-6 0-0 6; Scott Grable 2-3 1-2 5; Brett Ervin 2-2 0-0 4; Josh Bonney 1-2 0-0 2; Jon Ogolo 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-50 19-26 70.
Halftime: Elon 35-23. 3-point goals--UNCG 9-20 (Mikko Koivisto 6-15; Kendall Toney 3-3; Kyle Randall 0-1; Korey Van Dussen 0-1), Elon 7-19 (Drew Spradlin 3-7; Tj Douglas 2-4; Chris Long 1-4; Terrance Birdette 1-4). Fouled out--UNCG-Mikko Koivisto, Elon-None. Rebounds--UNCG 34 (Ben Stywall 11), Elon 33 (Tj Douglas 8). Assists--UNCG 10 (Kyle Randall 5), Elon 12 (Chris Long 5). Total fouls--UNCG 22, Elon 13. Technical fouls--UNCG-None, Elon-None. A-865
FREE THROWS: Ben Stywall and Kendall Toney appeared in consecutive game No. 117 of their respective careers on Wednesday night. That is two shy of the school record of 119 held by Jay Joseph... UNCG last rallied from a double-digit halftime deficit to win back on January 29, 2005 - at Fleming Gym against Chattanooga, the Spartans trailed by 19 at the break and came back to win 62-57... Montel Smith did not dress for the second straight game (leg muscle strain). He is questionable for Saturday's game at The Citadel... Stywall now has 272 rebounds this season, 12 shy of the school's single-season mark... Kendall Toney extended his career-best streak of games with a three-pointer to 17 in a row.
- UNCG -