Late basket lifts Spartans to fourth straight victory, 61-60
For video of UNCG's post-game press conference, click here.
GREENSBORO, N.C.—David Williams' tip-in with 2.8 seconds remaining lifted UNCG to a 61-60 Southern Conference win over Samford, Sunday at Greensboro Coliseum.
The win not only stretched UNCG's winning streak to four straight games, but it also moved the Spartans (6-14 overall, 4-4 SoCon) to within one-half game of first place Elon in the North Division standings.
Samford's (5-13, 2-5) Drew Windler drained a three-pointer from the right wing to put the Bulldogs up 60-59 with 19 seconds left. After a Samford timeout, UNCG's Derrell Armstrong – who finished with a game-high 27 points – had his layup attempted blocked out of bounds with 12 seconds to play.
On the inbounds play, Trevis Simpson missed a short jumper in traffic but Williams rebounded off the left side and tapped in the ball to give UNCG a one-point lead. With no timeouts remaining, Samford inbounded and Jeffrey Merritt's 60-foot heave was off the mark as the Spartans escaped with the win.
UNCG won despite a sluggish second half offensive performance. After leading 35-27 at halftime the Spartans shot just 26 percent in the second half, and endured a scoring drought of nearly five minutes midway through the half.
Samford was able to take advantage but never completely took control. The Bulldogs opened the half with a 7-1 run, tying the game at 36-36 on a three-point play by Merritt with 15:59 left. Simpson stopped the bleeding and put the Spartans back on top with a three-pointer 17 seconds later, but Samford responded with four straight points and took a 41-39 lead with 14:20 to play.
A jumper by Taylor Hoffer and a pair of free throws by Armstrong pushed UNCG ahead 43-41 with 12:18 to go, but the Spartans wouldn't score for nearly five more minutes. Samford, however, didn't exactly seize the opportunity, scoring only four points in the same span for a 45-43 lead.
Simpson snapped a string of eight straight misses for UNCG with a three-pointer at 7:27 and Windler canned a three of his own for Samford for a 47-46 Bulldogs' lead. Four straight free throws followed, giving Samford its largest lead of the day at 51-46 with 5:07 left.
But UNCG quickly erased the advantage. Four straight points by Armstrong and a put-back dunk by Simpson put the Spartans on top 52-51 with 3:57 remaining.
The teams traded leads six times over the next 3:47, setting up Williams' heroics.
The Spartans shot just 32 percent from the field for the game and were out-rebounded 43-34, but won in part due to a 27-8 advantage in points off turnovers. UNCG set a season low for third straight game with seven turnovers, while forcing Samford into 23 miscues. UNCG also went to the free throw line just nine times, making seven.
Samford shot 45 percent, including a 58 percent effort in the second half. But the Bulldogs were only 4-of-14 from three-point range, and couldn't fully take advantage of a 14-of-19 night at the free throw line.
Armstrong enjoyed his second straight outstanding game, going 10-of-22 from the field, including 3-of-7 on three-pointers. He was perfect on all four free throw attempts, and added five rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Simpson was the only Spartan to score in double figures, finishing with 15 points. Williams had nine points, seven rebounds, four steals and two assists.
Windler led Samford with 19 points, while Merritt added 15 points and 11 rebounds.
The Spartans return to action when they host Appalachian State, 7 p.m., Thursday at Greensboro Coliseum.