Spartans fall to ACC foe Miami, 78-58
For video of coach Mike Dement's postgame comments, click here.
By Rob Daniels
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG Spartans limited Miami center Reggie Johnson Tuesday night, but the Hurricanes compensated in triplicate, claiming a 78-58 victory with the help of 12-for-24 shooting from the 3-point line.
Miami, the last of UNCG's seven ACC foes on the season, hit a dozen or more trifectas for the fifth time on the year in expanding on a seven-point halftime lead and pulling away. The Spartans put together five consecutive minutes of defensive stops at one point in the first half, and they held Johnson, a 6-foot-10, 303-pound sophomore from Winston-Salem, without a field goal for the night. In the process, however, they suffered a cumulative, gradual breakdown effect manifested by Adrian Thomas' 6-for-10 long-range shooting for the Hurricanes.
"Getting consecutive stops gives you energy," said guard Kyle Randall, who led the Spartans with 13 points. "And we wanted to keep it going. Unfortunately, we couldn't sustain it."
Miami went 6-for-8 from downtown in the second half and earned the win 48 hours after a disappointing home loss to Duke.
It wasn't hard to ascertain coach Mike Dement's plan of attack against the appreciably larger Hurricanes: play a zone, shuffle bodies like playing cards and deny entry passes to Johnson, who entered at 12.6 points and 9.7 rebounds a game. Truthfully, there was no other choice.
"That helps, but then again, it doesn't help because Thomas is a forward who can step up and really shoot the ball," Dement said. "We had trouble finding him, and that broke our back."
UNCG held Miami scoreless in that first-half stretch and took a 17-15 lead, but the Canes' obvious advantages in strength and size across the board wouldn't dissipate altogether. Miami scored on 16 of 18 possessions spanning halftime and began to feel breathing room when Durand Scott hit a trifecta from 24 feet out to make it 49-35 with 15:21 left.
Johnson's numerical absence meant teammates' gain.
"One time, they had three guys on Reggie," Thomas said. "And it's pretty easy if there are three around him. You just have to step up and knock down the shots."
Spartan center Aloysius Henry had one of his best games in the past month with 12 points and six rebounds. He's averaging 11.6 points a game against the ACC. This, of course, is not to say the Spartans wish to take on any additional foes this season from that league. They'll resume that schedule next season and will focus on getting ready for the Southern Conference tournament.
The Spartans (5-20) play at Elon on Saturday before returning to the coliseum for their final home contest of the year, a tilt with Western Carolina on Monday.
"Anybody with basketball eyes sees these guys are maturing," Dement said of his club. "Now they have to keep maturing both in body and defensively, and when they do that, they're going to be really good."
Miami 78, UNCG 58
Adrian Thomas 6-11 0-0 18; Malcolm Grant 5-10 2-2 16; Garrius Adams 6-11 4-5 16; Durand Scott 3-7 4-6 12; Julian Gamble 3-5 2-4 8; DeQuan Jones 2-5 0-0 4; Raphael Akpejiori 0-1 2-2 2; Reggie Johnson 0-2 2-2 2; Erik Swoope 0-1 0-0 0; Rion Brown 0-4 0-0 0. Totals 25-57 16-21 78.
RANDALL, Kyle 6-11 0-0 13; HENRY, Aloysius 5-11 2-2 12; COLE, Brian 3-6 0-0 7; BRACKETT, Aaron 2-7 3-3 7; EVANS, Brandon 1-5 4-4 6; SIMPSON, Trevis 2-13 2-2 6; VAN DUSSEN, Korey 2-4 0-0 4; HENEGAR, Cody 1-4 0-0 3; PARKER, Drew 0-1 0-0 0; WILLIAMS, David 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 22-64 11-11 58.
Miami......................... 35 43 - 78
UNCG.......................... 28 30 - 58
3-point goals--Miami 12-24 (Adrian Thomas 6-10; Malcolm Grant 4-8; Durand Scott 2-3; Rion Brown 0-1; Garrius Adams 0-2), UNCG 3-20 (HENEGAR, Cody 1-2; COLE, Brian 1-3; RANDALL, Kyle 1-4; EVANS, Brandon 0-4; SIMPSON, Trevis 0-3; VAN DUSSEN, Korey 0-1; PARKER, Drew 0-1; BRACKETT, Aaron 0-1; HENRY, Aloysius 0-1). Fouled out--Miami-None, UNCG-None. Rebounds--Miami 42 (Durand Scott 12), UNCG 34 (BRACKETT, Aaron 7). Assists--Miami 11 (Malcolm Grant 3), UNCG 6 (VAN DUSSEN, Korey 2; PARKER, Drew 2). Total fouls--Miami 12, UNCG 17. Technical fouls--Miami-None, UNCG-None. A-3102
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