Spartans look to keep momentum Saturday at Georgia Southern
Complete Game Notes
About Tonight's Game
With a two-game lead in the SoCon North Division and just three games remaining in the regular season, the Spartans visit Georgia Southern on Saturday ... a win tonight by the Spartans and a loss by Elon to Western Carolina would give UNCG the north division title ... this is the only meeting of the season between the Spartans and Eagles ... UNCG has three native Georgians -- Elhanan Bone (Sandersville), Brian Cole (Dacula), Trevis Simpson (Douglas) -- who will be playing in their home state for the first time this season ... Trevis Simpson enters the game needing 29 points to reach 500 for the season ... following Saturday's game the Spartans return home for a Tuesday clash with Wofford at Greensboro Coliseum.
About the Series
Saturday's game is the 21st meeting between the teams, with UNCG holding a 12-8 lead in the series. The Spartans have won the last three meetings with the Eagles, including a 57-56 win last February in Statesboro. Georgia Southern's last win in the series was a 73-62 win on Jan. 15, 2009 in Greensboro.
Dement Steps Aside as Men's Basketball Coach; Miller Named as Interim
UNCG men's basketball head coach Mike Dement and Director of Athletics Kim Record on Dec. 13 reached a mutual agreement that Dement will no longer serve as head coach, effective immediately. A national search for a permanent men's basketball coach will be conducted.
Assistant coach Wes Miller was named as interim head coach for the remainder of the season.
"In the interests of the long-term health of the men's basketball program, Mike and I have agreed that a change is necessary in order for the program to move forward," said Record. "Coach Dement has been professional, ethical and committed to leading our efforts to enhance men's basketball with the program's move to the Greensboro Coliseum and the nonconference scheduling philosophy put in place over the last three seasons. We thank him for his contributions to UNCG's basketball program."
Dement was in the seventh season of his second tenure as head coach of the Spartans. He returned to UNCG on April 9, 2005, after previously serving as head coach from 1991-95. In 11 total seasons as UNCG's head coach, Dement posted a 124-181 record. The 124 victories are a school record for men's basketball.
UNCG's first men's basketball head coach in the school's Division I era, Dement coached the Spartans to a Big South Conference championship and a school-record 23 wins during the 1994-95 season before leaving to take a head coaching position at SMU. Dement is 329-368 in 25 seasons as a collegiate head coach.
About Wes Miller
UNCG interim head coach Wes Miller, 29, is in his second season on staff with the Spartans. He has previous Division I coaching experience as an assistant at both Elon (2008-09) and High Point (2009-10). A native of Charlotte, Miller lettered three seasons at North Carolina, helping the Tar Heels to the 2005 national championship. He graduated from UNC in 2007 with a degree in political science. After graduation, Miller played one season of professional basketball for the London Capitals of the British Basketball League.
America's Youngest Head Coach
With his promotion to interim head coach Wes Miller is the youngest Division I head coach in the country:
Coach Birthdate Age
Wes Miller, UNCG Jan. 28, 1983 29
Andy Toole, Robert Morris Sept. 11, 1980 31
Jason Capel, Appalachian State Jan. 15, 1980 32
Brian Wardle, Wisconsin-Green Bay Oct. 9, 1979 32
Archie Miller, Dayton Oct. 30, 1978 33
College of Charleston Leftovers
Senior center Aloysius Henry enjoyed what was without question his finest game of the season, scoring 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field ... he added his third career 3-pointer, and six rebounds ... Henry scored 20 points in the second half ... junior guard Derrell Armstrong scored 20 of his game-high 30 points in the first half ... lost in the shadows of strong efforts by Armstrong and Henry was the night of sophomore David Williams who, despite not scoring, had a major impact on the game ... Williams grabbed 11 rebounds and added four steals, three assists and three blocked shots ... UNCG limited Charleston to an opponent season-low 35.6 percent shooting ... the Spartans forced Charleston into 22 turnovers, including 10 by guard Andrew Lawrence ... UNCG's 12 steals were its most since having 13 in early January at Miami.
Player of the Year?
With just three games left in the regular season, UNCG sophomore Trevis Simpson has emerged as one of the favorites for Southern Conference player of the year. Currently the league's leading scorer at 18.1 points per game, Simpson is coming on at the right time for the Spartans.
Over the last six games (5-1) Simpson is averaging 25.7 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. He has scored at least 23 points in each of those games, and has scored 20 or more points 11 times this year, including six times in SoCon play. His play is a primary reason why the Spartans have become the surprise of the league, currently leading the north division.
Simpson ranks among conference leaders in 3-pointers per game (6th, 2.1) and free-throw percentage (13th, .752).
During UNCG's run to the top of the SoCon North Division standings, one constant has emerged: the bench. Over the last 11 games, the Spartans' reserves are out-scoring their counterparts by more than 2-to-1. UNCG's bench is averaging exactly 37 points per game, compared to 17.2 points for the opponents. Junior guard Derrell Armstrong (19.1) is the top scoring reserve in that time, and he's supported by Aloysius Henry (7.5, 4.8 rebounds), Kyle Randall (6.1), Nicholas Paulos (5.4), and Taylor Hoffer (1.5 points, 2.5 rebounds). In Wednesday's win over Charleston, UNCG's bench out-scored the Cougars' 39-2.
History in the Making
Trevis Simpson is not only enjoying a player-of-the-year type campaign, he's on the verge of one of the most historically significant seasons for a UNCG player.
With at least four games remaining, Simpson is 29 points shy of becoming the ninth player in school history to score 500 points in a season. At his current average of 18.1 points per game, Simpson is on pace to finish with 562 points which would leave him fifth in a single season. But the more UNCG plays in the tournament, the better he'll likely finish.
At that pace, Simpson will come close to breaking Kyle Hines' season record for points by a sophomore (578), set during the 2005-06 season. Simpson can also finish in the school season top 10 for field goals, three-pointers, and free throws made and attempted.
Simpson Named SoCon Player of the Week
UNCG men's basketball stand-out Trevis Simpson has been named the Southern Conference Player of the Week for all games played February 7-13, the league office announced Tuesday. This is Simpson's first career honor and the third for the Spartans in the last four weeks.
Simpson averaged 26.5 points per game last week as UNCG picked up road wins at Samford (71-69) and Chattanooga (77-76) to move into first place in the North Division.
Simpson poured in a game-high 25 points at Samford as the Spartans came away with a two-point victory. The Douglas, Ga., native also grabbed a season-high seven rebounds in the win. On the road at Chattanooga, Simpson tallied 24 points on 11-of-18 shooting, including 18 points in the second half. Trailing by four with 1:29 to play, Simpson hit a three-pointer to pull the Spartans to within one before teammate Derrell Armstrong scored with 16 seconds left to lift UNCG to the win.
The SoCon's leading scorer at 18.1 points per game, Simpson has scored at least 23 points in each of his last six games and is averaging 25.7 points per contest over that stretch, while UNCG is 5-1 in those games.
Junior guard Derrell Armstrong is enjoying perhaps the best month of his basketball life, helping UNCG to 10 wins in the last 11 games and earning a pair of SoCon player of the week awards in the process.
Since a Jan. 12 win at College of Charleston, Armstrong is averaging 20.5 points and 5.0 rebounds per game, all in a reserve role. In addition to his scoring and rebounding, Armstrong has developed into UNCG's most reliable three-point threat, shooting 45 percent from beyond the arc in the last 11 games.
Armstrong was already UNCG's top offensive threat off the bench, but his recent play has lifted his scoring average into double-figures (12.6), while he is now averaging 16.7 points in SoCon play.
UNCG has been desperately seeking a scoring post presence this season, and it appears that over the last five games the Spartans may have found their man.
Senior center Aloysius Henry has come alive in the last two weeks, averaging 12.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.3 blocks. Henry is shooting 66 percent (23-35) from the field and 81 percent (17-21) from the free throw line.
He scored 20 of his season-high 22 points in the second of Wednesday's win over Charleston.
Simpson Makes ESPN Top Plays
In addition to nearly setting a school record for points in a game, Trevis Simpson also put on a dunking exhibition during UNCG's loss at Miami. One of his dunks, a reverse alley-oop off a pass from Derrell Armstrong, made the No. 6 spot on ESPN's Top Plays the next day.
The dunk also caused about a 10-minute delay as the tech crew at BankUnited Arena had to replace a bolt which was knocked loose by the alley-oop.
Parker Packing a Long-Range Punch
Sophomore guard Drew Parker isn't exactly the first name that comes to mind when pondering UNCG's top three-point shooters. After all, he shot just 30 percent from beyond the arc as a freshman. But as he enters Saturday's game at Georgia Southern, Parker finds himself atop the SoCon leader board in three-point percentage at .493 (36-73).
Parker has also settled in to UNCG's starting lineup. Playing as the point guard Parker has started the last 21 games, and recorded a career-high 10 assists in UNCG's loss at Miami.
Armstrong Named SoCon Player of the Week... Again
After waiting nearly four years for a SoCon player of the week, UNCG now has a weekly honoree in consecutive weeks.
UNCG's Derrell Armstrong has been named the Southern Conference Player of the Week for all games played January 24-30 the league office announced Tuesday. It is the second consecutive week Armstrong has won the award. The junior guard averaged 25 points, seven rebounds and three assists in two games last week as the Spartans picked up overtime wins over Appalachian State (77-73) and Western Carolina (89-86).
Armstrong scored 50 points in two games off the bench for the Spartans last week. He tallied a game-high 27 points in UNCG's win over Appalachian State on Thursday night. Armstrong scored 19 points in the second half and overtime against the Mountaineers and was 10-of-20 from the field.
The Mechanicsville, Md., native posted 21 of his 23 points in the second half and overtime against the Catamounts. The junior scored 12 of UNCG's 20 points in the extra frame. Armstrong added six rebounds, four assists, three seals and a blocked shot against WCU.
Spartans Picked Fourth in SoCon North
UNCG men's basketball team has been picked to finish fourth in the Southern Conference North Division in 2011-12 according to a vote by league head coaches, the conference office announced in October.
Chattanooga and Davidson are the favorites to capture the Southern Conference's divisional men's basketball titles in 2011-12. Appalachian State senior guard Omar Carter was also named the SoCon Preseason Player of the Year as part of the preseason all-conference team. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team or student-athletes as part of the balloting.
Dement begins the seventh season of his second tenure at UNCG and his 12th season overall with the Spartans looking to build upon last season's strong finish. After opening the year with a 0-15 mark, a team consisting of 11 first-and-second year players closed by winning seven of their final 16 games. The Spartans also won their opening game at the Southern Conference tournament before falling in the quarterfinals.
Southern Conference Tournament
The 2012 Southern Conference Men's and Women's Basketball Tournaments are right around the corner! Don't miss this opportunity to watch your team on the court and plan extra time for some "R&R" in the beautiful mountain city of Asheville, N.C. This event promises to be a tremendous experience for athletes, faculty, students, parents, alumni and fans. Buy your tickets today through your school or by visiting SoConTravel.com.
Spartans on TV
UNCG men's basketball will make seven appearances on national and regional television outlets during the 2011-12 season.
The Spartans will appear four times on Fox Sports South, beginning with the season opener at Tennessee on Nov. 11. Other FSN South appearances include games at Florida State (Dec. 11), at Duke (Dec. 19) and at Miami, Fla. (Jan. 2).
UNCG's game at Georgetown on Nov. 14 will appear on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), which serves seven states from Pennsylvania to North Carolina. MASN is available locally in the Piedmont Triad on DirecTV Ch. 640.
The Spartans' home game with 2011 Final Four participant VCU on Dec. 22 will be shown on ESPN3, while a Feb. 4 contest at Furman is part of the SoCon Sports Network's season-long television package. The SoCon Sports Network consists of CSS, UNC-TV and ESPN3.
Spartans on the Radio
UNCG men's basketball games will once again be broadcast on the Triad Sports Network for the 2011-12 season. Owned by Curtis Media Group, the Triad Sports Network is a trio of AM stations providing all sports programming with ESPN radio affiliation. UNCG will be utilizing 1320 WCOG-AM as its flagship station for the broadcasts. Additional coverage will be provided on a game-by-game availability through 1200 WSML-AM and 1230 WMFR-AM.
WSML-AM's signal is based out of Graham, N.C., while WMFR-AM is based out of High Point. WZTK-FM, Curtis' FM-talk station, has a 100,000-watt signal that broadcasts nearly statewide and into parts of Virginia and Tennessee.
Scott Pryzwansky will once again handle play-by-play duties.
About the Southern Conference
The Southern Conference, which began its 91st season of intercollegiate competition in 2011, is a national leader in emphasizing the development of the student-athlete and in helping to build lifelong leaders and role models.
The Southern Conference has been on the forefront of innovation and originality in developing creative solutions to address issues facing intercollegiate athletics. From establishing the first conference basketball tournament (1921), tackling the issue of freshmen eligibility (1922), developing women's championships (1984), to becoming the first conference to install the three-point goal in basketball (1980), the Southern Conference has been a pioneer.
The Southern Conference is the nation's fifth-oldest NCAA Division I collegiate athletic association. Only the Big Ten (1896), the Missouri Valley (1907), the Pacific 10 (1915) and the Southwestern Athletic (1920) conferences are older in terms of origination.
The Spartans close out the home schedule when they host Wofford, 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 21 at Greensboro Coliseum. Seniors Elhanan Bone, Aaron Brackett and Aloysius Henry will be honored in pregame Senior Day ceremonies.