Hickman, Oleksiak shoot UNCG past ECU, 78-70
GREENVILLE, NC – Ricky Hickman scored 15 of his 24 points in the final 7:34 and Kevin Oleksiak added a career-high 23 points as UNC Greensboro knocked off East Carolina, 78-70, in nonconference men’s basketball action at Williams Arena.
The win marked the second-straight season UNCG has knocked off a Conference USA member. Last year, UNCG beat Southern Mississippi. UNCG shot 63 percent from the floor in the second half, knocking down 17-of-27 shots. The Spartans were 8-for-13 from three-point range in the second half and 10-for-22 for the game.
“This is a big win for us,” said UNCG coach Mike Dement. “We haven’t played very well on the road thus far so hopefully this will give us a big confidence boost, particularly with such a young team. We hit some big shots down the stretch; Hickman banked one and Oleksiak banked another. McClenny got in there and knocked two down. It was just a great effort all around and a nice win.”
After East Carolina (3-3) scored the first six points of the contest, UNCG went on a 14-2 run to take a six-point lead midway through the first half. The Pirates, who made just two of their first 13 shots from the field, responded with a 17-4 run to open up a seven-point lead. UNCG managed just two field goals over the final 10:36 of the half, one of them a three-pointer by Oleksiak with just nine seconds left in the half, but went into halftime tied 25-25.
Oleksiak then came out of the locker room on fire. The sophomore from Abington, PA knocked down a pair of three-pointers to open the half, the second of which was a bomb from NBA range, and added a third two minutes later from deep in the right corner to give UNCG (5-3) its largest lead to that point, 38-31.
After a timeout, the Pirates went on a 15-2 run from there to regain the lead. Japhet McNeil’s jumper with 12:32 to play gave the Pirates the lead once again, 41-40, and a three-pointer by Tom Hammonds from the left corner gave ECU a six-point advantage a minute and a half later.
But UNCG battled back as Hickman took over and scored eight straight points for UNCG. Coming out of a timeout, Hickman knocked down a three-pointer from the right wing to give UNCG the lead again, 49-48, and cap a 9-2 spurt. ECU momentarily regained the lead, but Hickman fired a rainbow three-pointer with the shot clock winding down to take the lead back and then hit a bank shot on UNCG’s next possession.
Freshman David McClenny then knocked down back-to-back buckets, the second a three-pointer to give UNCG a seven-point lead again, 59-52.
The team traded 3-point buckets and then Hickman hit the improbable. With the shot-clock winding down and Hickman double-teamed, he hit a step-back jumper from 15-feet and got fouled. Following a media timeout, he knocked down the free throw to complete the conventional three-point play. After the Pirates made one of two at the line, Oleksiak banked home another three-pointer to give UNCG a nine-point lead and the Spartans were well on their way to victory.
UNCG will take host Gardner-Webb this Sunday afternoon at Fleming Gym beginning at 2 pm.
SIDELINES: The game marked the return of Mike Dement to his alma mater for the first time to coach against the Pirates in Greenville. Dement lost to them as coach of Cornell in November 1989 in Hawaii. Dement graduated from ECU in 1976...The win was UNCG’s 19th straight when tied or leading at halftime... Hickman has scored in double-figures in all five games that he has played in this season...It was Oleksiak’s sixth double-digit scoring game this year... UNCG's 10 3-pointers were a season-high and the most since Nov. 30, 2004, when it knocked down 11 in a win over Division III Bridgewater College.
UNC GREENSBORO 78, EAST CAROLINA 70
UNC GREENSBORO (5-3)
Hickman, Ricky 8-13 4-7 24; Oleksiak, Kevin 6-11 6-7 23; Hines, Kyle 6-9 3-5; 15; McClenny, David 3-5 0-0 7; Johnson, Dwayne 0-4 5-6 5; Akinosho, Matt 0-0 2-4 2; Tooms, Bart 1-3 0-0 2; Beckford, Brian 0-2 0-0 0; Simmons, Everson 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 24-50 20-29 78.
EAST CAROLINA (3-3)
Hinnant, Sam 6-11 4-4 18; Captain, Courtney 5-14 0-0 13; Hammonds, Tom 4-10 0-0 11; Rouse, Corey 3-9 5-7 11; Hart, Jonathan 3-6 0-0 6; Castro, Mike 3-4 0-2 6; McNeil, Japhet 2-6 0-1 5; Beale, Tyronne 0-0 0-0 0; King, Josh 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 26-61 9-14 70.
Halftime: Tied 25-25. 3-point goals-UNC Greensboro 10-22 (Oleksiak, Kevin 5-6; Hickman, Ricky 4-7; McClenny, David 1-3; Tooms, Bart 0-1; Simmons, Everson 0-2; Johnson, Dwayne 0-3), East Carolina 9-23 (Hammonds, Tom 3-6; Captain, Courtney 3-8; Hinnant, Sam 2-5; McNeil, Japhet 1-3; King, Josh 0-1). Fouled out—UNC Greensboro-None, East Carolina-McNeil, Japhet. Rebounds-UNC Greensboro 36 (Hines, Kyle 8), East Carolina 32 (Rouse, Corey 7). Assists-UNC Greensboro 13 (Johnson, Dwayne 7), East Carolina 17 (Hinnant, Sam 8). Total fouls-UNC Greensboro 17, East Carolina 20. A-4627
- UNCG -