GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG men's basketball team dropped a 76-68 Southern Conference contest to visiting Appalachian State Sunday afternoon at the Greensboro Coliseum. The loss drops the Spartans to 5-9 in SoCon play while the Mountaineers improve to 8-7 in league action completing the regular season series sweep of UNCG.
"I liked our team today, as crazy as that may sound," head coach Wes Miller said. "The past two games at Wofford and against Western Carolina, I didn't think we were as unified as a team as we should have been. Tonight was a different story. We played hard, we played with great effort and we shared the ball. They just made more plays than us down the stretch and you have to give them credit for that."
The Spartans connected on 40 percent (28-of-70) from the field and just 25 percent (7-of-28) from three-point land in the loss. Appalachian State conversely connected on 48.2 percent (27-of-56) from the field and hit 30.4 percent (7-of-23) from long range. The Mountaineers also out-rebounded the Spartans by a 44-33 margin, including grabbing 16 offensive rebounds.
Senior Derrell Armstrong (Mechanicsville, Md./Allegany CC) scored a game-high 22 points while also grabbing six rebounds, dishing out three assists and notching two steals in 30 minutes of action. Armstrong was 8-of-19 from the field and hit two of the Spartans' five three-pointers. Freshman Kayel Locke (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh) added 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting in the loss.
Appalachian State (12-14) was led by Jay Canty who scored 17 points, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out six assists in 36 minutes of play. Nathan Healy added 16 points and six rebounds while Michael Obacha chipped in 11 points and eight rebounds.
Appalachian State came out of the gate quickly scoring the first 10 points of the game as it opened on a 14-2 run over the first 4:34 of the game. Tab Hamilton started the scoring with back-to-back layups off of dribble drives before Nathan Healy scored five points in the run while Jay Canty added four points.
The Spartans weathered the early storm and responded with a 16-4 run to take a 24-23 lead with 5:52 left in the half. Freshman Jordan Potts (Columbus, Ohio/Northland) provided the spark with a pair of nifty assists before nailing a three-pointer in the corner. Senior Korey Van Dussen (Zeeland, Mich./Zeeland East) hit back-to-back jumpers while Locke scored five points in the run, including a trail three-pointer in transition.
After the Mountaineers extended the lead back to six at 32-26, Armstrong hit four free throws with 41 seconds left to narrow the gap to 32-30. Healy was called for a foul and a technical foul on the play for arguing with the referees. The Spartans had three chances on the final possession to tie the game but went into the locker room trailing by two points.
UNCG connected on 34.4 percent (11-of-32) from the field, including three three-pointers. Locke led all scorers with 10 points in the first half as he was 4-of-5 from the field while Armstrong scored six points. Appalachian State connected on 41.4 percent (12-of-29) from the field but only hit 2-of-13 (15.4%) from long range. Canty led the Mountaineers with nine first half points while Hamilton added seven.
Appalachian State posted a 9-2 run midway early in the second half to take a 50-43 lead with 10:52 remaining in the game. The Mountaineers started to heat up from the outside as Jamaal Trice hit a three-pointer before Mike Neal nailed back-to-back long balls to stretch the ASU lead to seven points.
UNCG answered back with its own set of three-pointers, posting a 10-3 run to tie the game at 53-53. Potts started the long range attack with a three-pointer before Armstrong and junior Trevis Simpson (Douglas, Ga./Coffee) hit long range shots.
The teams traded baskets until the Mountaineers posted a 9-2 run to take a 65-57 lead with 3:41 left in the game. The run was ignited by long-distance shots once again as Healy and Canty hit consecutive shots to start the run giving the Mountaineers the lead back for good.
Simpson finished the game with 12 points on 5-of-11 shooting in 28 minutes of action. Potts added six point and four assists off the bench, while playing 24 minutes.
The Spartans hit the road for two straight games and three out of their last four away from home beginning Thursday night when they travel to Chattanooga for a match up with the Mocs.
- UNCG -