Men's Basketball Hosts Western Carolina Thursday Night
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG men's basketball team returns home to the Greensboro Coliseum Thursday night as the Spartans host Southern Conference foe Western Carolina in a pivotal divisional battle. Game time is set for 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on 1320 WCOG AM and online at www.uncgspartans.com.
Thursday's game marks the 42nd meeting all-time between UNCG and Western Carolina, dating back to the 1978-79 season. The Spartans trail the all-time series by a 25-16 margin, including a 1-10 mark against the Catamounts the last 11 games. Last season, the two teams split the regular season series with both home teams winning before WCU eliminated the Spartans from the SoCon Tournament.
Earlier this season, the Spartans suffered a hard-fought 62-59 decision to the Catamounts in Cullowhee. The Spartans played the game without the services of junior Trevis Simpson (Douglas, Ga./Coffee) due to a concussion but still had a potential game-tying three-point shot from senior guard Derrell Armstrong (Mechanicsville, Md./Allegany CC) fall of the rim at time expired.
Armstrong led the Spartans in the loss as he elevated his play in the absence of the league's leading scorer, scoring a season-high 25 points in 28 minutes of action. He scored 19 of his points in the second half as he was 7-of-14 from the field. Sophomore Nicholas Paulos (Salt Lake City, Utah/New Hampton School) added 10 points in a career-high 37 minutes, while making his first career start.
Western Carolina was led by Trey Sumler who scored 17 points on the strength of 11-of-13 shooting from the free throw line. The Catamounts as a team hit 81.6 percent (31-of-38) from the free throw line in the victory, out-scoring UNCG by 18 points at the charity stripe.
The Spartans enter the game trailing both Western Carolina and Appalachian State by 1.5 games in the SoCon North Division with a 5-7 record while the Catamounts enter with a 7-6 mark in league play. The top four teams in the SoCon receive a first round bye in the 2013 SoCon Tournament in March, with the likely scenario awarding the top two finishers in each division the bye.
UNCG enters the game with a 7-16 overall record and is coming off a 59-50 loss at Wofford Saturday night. The 50 points scored is the lowest scoring output for the Spartans this season and is over 20 points under their season scoring average. UNCG has recorded six of its seven wins at home this season at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Simpson leads the SoCon and ranks 15th in NCAA Division I in scoring at 20.0 points per game. He leads the team with 46 three-pointers and has hit 77 free throws this year. Since missing the WCU game the first time around, he is averaging 22.6 points per game and has posted nine straight games of double figures scoring.
Armstrong is second on the team in scoring at 14.5 points per game and ranks third on the team with 29 three-pointers. Freshman Kayel Locke (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh) rounds out the Spartans in double figures scoring at 10.4 points per game while Paulos is second on the team with 44 three-pointers.
Western Carolina enters the game with a 10-15 overall record and is tied for second in the league with a 7-6 record. The Catamounts have posted back-to-back wins over Georgia Southern and Wofford, which snapped a four-game losing streak.
Junior guard Trey Sumler leads the team and is second in the SoCon in scoring at 18.0 points per game. Sumler leads the team with 94 assists, 55 steals, 43 three-pointers and 106 free throws made. Tawaski King is second on the team in scoring at 11.6 points per game and leads the team on the glass grabbing 5.9 rebounds per game.
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