To see video of the post-game press conference, click here.
GREENSBORO, N.C. –Trevis Simpson scored a game-high 26 points, David Williams grabbed 18 rebounds and UNCG made all 11 free throw attempts in overtime as the Spartans secured an 89-86 win against Western Carolina in a Southern Conference game, Saturday at Greensboro Coliseum.
The win not only extended UNCG's winning streak to six games, but it also helped the Spartans (8-14 overall, 6-4 SoCon) surpass last season's win total (7). The win, coupled with Elon's loss at Appalachian State, moves the Spartans to the top of the SoCon's North Division.
As has been the Spartans' style during their winning streak, this victory didn't come easy. UNCG led by 10 points (41-31) at halftime and by eight (55-47) with 10:18 left in the second half. But Western Carolina (9-13, 3-6) mounted a 14-1 run and led 61-56 on a pair of Harouna Mutumbo free throws with 5:10 to play.
But the Spartans didn't the Catamounts run away. A basket by Simpson, a free throw by Taylor Hoffer and a jumper by Aaron Brackett tied the game at 61-61 with 3:16 to go. UNCG regained the lead on a Derrell Armstrong layup with 2:53 to play, which made it 63-61.
After the Catamounts tied it on their next trip, UNCG got two free throws by Brackett and a jumper from Simpson for a 67-63 lead with 19 seconds to play. But Western's Keaton Cole made it a one-point game on a three-pointer eight seconds later. Two Simpson free throws put the Spartans up 69-66 with nine ticks left, but Williams fouled Cole on a three-point attempt with two seconds to go. Cole made all three free throws to force overtime.
In the extra frame, UNCG eventually opened an eight-point lead (85-77) with 35 seconds left, but had to hang on for the win. Trailing 87-80, Western's Trey Sumler converted a three-point play with 18 seconds left to make it 87-83.
UNCG turned it over on the in-bounds play and Tom Tankelewicz banked in a three-pointer with 12 seconds left to cut the lead to 87-86. Armstrong made a pair of free throws for an 89-86 lead with nine seconds to go, but Western missed a three from the right wing and Williams corralled the rebound to secure the win.
The Spartans won in large part to their defensive effort. Despite allowing 86 points, UNCG limited Western Carolina to 35.6 percent shooting, an opponent low for the season. The Spartans shot 46.4 percent from the field and were 30-for-27 (81.1 percent) from the free throw line.
Simpson finished the game 8-of-20 from the field, 2-of-7 from three-point range, and a near-perfect 8-of-9 at the free throw line. Simpson scored 12 points in the game's last 9:39, including overtime. Armstrong added 23 points for UNCG, making 7-of-15 from the field and 8-of-10 from the line.
Drew Parker scored 11 points for the Spartans, all in the first half. Williams added seven points, three assists and three blocked shots to his career-best rebound figure.
Sumler led the Catamounts with 22 points, while Tawaski King added a double-double with 12 points and 11 boards.
UNCG closes out its five-game home stand against The Citadel, 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 2 at Greensboro Coliseum.