Simpson’s big night not enough as Spartans fall at Miami, 99-89
CORAL GABLES, Fla.—UNCG's Trevis Simpson scored a career-high 36 points but the Spartans couldn't hang on down the stretch against Miami as the Hurricanes rallied for a 99-89 win, Monday at BankUnited Center.
Simpson finished 12-of-20 from the field, including a career-high seven 3-pointers. The sophomore swingman was perfect on all five of his free throw attempts and wowed the crowd with a series of highlight reel dunks. He scored 24 points in the first half, and his point total was just two off the school single-game record.
Simpson almost single-handedly kept the Spartans (2-13) in the game in the first half. After UNCG trailed by as many as nine points (31-22), Simpson caught fire over the final nine minutes of the half. A three-pointer with 8:34 left pulled the Spartans to within 31-28. A pair of free throws at 6:38 made it 35-33, and a reverse dunk in traffic helped extend the Spartans' first lead of the game to 42-39 with 4:01 before halftime.
A four-point play by Simpson pushed UNCG's lead to 46-41 with 2:51 to go in the half, but Miami rallied and forced a 49-49 tie at halftime.
Simpson helped the Spartans gain their largest lead of the game early in the second half. Simpson opened the half with an alley-oop dunk on UNCG's first possession, and drained a three-pointer 91 seconds later to make it 56-49 with 18:17 to play.
After Miami cut the lead to 58-56, a jumper by Aloysius Henry and a free throw by Korey Van Dussen gave UNCG a 61-56 lead with 16:19 remaining.
It was then that Miami reserve guard Shane Larkin came to life. With the Hurricanes down by five, Larkin made three straight three-pointers and three free throws after being fouled on a three attempt. After the free throws, Miami had the lead for good at 68-67 with 13:54 to play.
Malcolm Grant and Larkin hit back-to-back layups to make it 72-67. A dunk and a three-pointer by Simpson pulled the Spartans to within 75-72 with 11:37 to play but UNCG never got any closer.
The Spartans set several season highs against the Hurricanes, including field-goal percentage (.485), three-pointers (11) and assists (21). But UNCG was out-rebounded, 38-29, and its 20 turnovers led to 33 points for Miami. UNCG was 14-of-18 from the free throw line.
Kyle Randall and David Williams joined Simpson in double figures, scoring 12 and 11 points, respectively. Drew Parker dished a career-high 10 assists and Williams plucked five steals.
Miami shot 53 percent from the field and made 30-of-38 from the line. Kenny Kadji led Miami with a double-double of 30 points and 12 rebounds. Larkin scored 18 points while Durand Scott added 17.
The Spartans resume Southern Conference play when they host Davidson, 7 p.m., Thursday at Greensboro Coliseum.