Hickman's career-high 34 not enough as UNCG falls to Elon, 87-82
GREENSBORO, NC – Elon used a late 9-2 run to break a 71-71 tie and defeat UNC Greensboro, 87-82, in men’s basketball action at Fleming Gym on Saturday afternoon.
Chris Chalko finished with a team-high 21 points to lead the Phoenix (14-13, 10-4 SoCon), including five three-pointers. Scottie Rice added 18 points, including a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line.
Ricky Hickman finished with a career-high 34 points to lead UNCG. His three-pointer with 4:48 left in the half gave him 27 straight games in double digits to set new school record. The junior guard from Kernersville, NC recorded the 10th highest scoring game in UNCG history. He hit seven three-pointers on the afternoon.
Kyle Hines added 18 points and Devin Boddie, UNCG’s lone senior who has spent most of the year as a reserve, chipped in a career-high 10 points in his first start.
If anything, UNCG made one statement on Saturday afternoon. The Spartans are out to be the most dangerous No. 10 seed that any conference tournament has ever seen. UNCG (11-18, 4-10) will face Western Carolina, a 71-67 loser at Chattanooga on Saturday night, in the 7/10 game of the Southern Conference Tournament on Wednesday beginning at approximately 6 pm.
With the win, Elon may still clinch the tournament’s top seed. Should Georgia Southern falter at Furman on Sunday afternoon, the Phoenix would get the top seed and be guaranteed of at least an NIT bid. The winner of the SoCon Tournament receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Should the top seed not win the tournament and not be awarded an at-large to the NCAA Tournament, that team will get an NIT bid under new selection guidelines this season.
The contest was back and forth affair all afternoon with both teams shooting near or above 50 percent from the field for a good portion of the game. If one team was hot, so was the other. If one team went cold, so did the opposition. In the end, Elon shot 55 percent from the field, including 64 percent for the second half, while UNCG shot an even 50 percent from the floor, including 58 percent in the second half.
UNCG made its first four shots from the field to jump out to a quick 12-5 lead. But UNCG went cold, missing eight of their next 10 from the field and the Phoenix battled back. Elon took its first lead, 23-21, just inside of the eight-minute mark when Chalko knocked down a three. He followed that up with three-pointer next trip down the floor to cap off a 12-1 run.
Hines picked up his third foul at 2:09 of the first half and was held to just five points in the first half. Despite that, however, the Spartans trailed by just three, 38-35, at the half.
But UNCG made it a point to establish their big man to start the second half as Hines scored seven points in the first 3:30 of the second half and 11 in the five minutes. He converted one-of-two at the line off the opening possession of the second half and then converted a conventional three-point play two minutes later to give UNCG a 41-40 lead. The seven-point spurt extended his string of double-figure scoring games to 19 in a row.
A controversial call, however, led to both teams losing big guns with their fourth fouls with just over eight minutes to play. Elon’s Jackson Atoybei crashed into Kyle Hines. Official Jerry Heater called a block while Greg Fogelman had a player control foul from up top. The end result was a double foul and the fourth personal on both players.
With Hines on the bench, Elon opened up its largest lead of the afternoon at six, 66-60, before UNCG called a timeout with 6:28 to play and put the big man back into the line-up
UNCG battled back with an 11-5 spurt. Hines hit two free throws with 3:15 to play to tie the game, 71-71. Chalko followed with a three-pointer from the left wing, however, as Elon regained the lead with 2:37 to go. Phoenix guard Brian Waters hit a jumper in the lane and, although he failed to convert the conventional three-point play, a minute later the margin was back to five and Elon was on its way.
SIDELINES: Hickman’s previous career-high was 29 in UNCG’s win over Southern Mississippi last year. He also extended his three-point field goal string to 25 consecutive games... Kevin Oleksiak returned to the lineup for the first time in three games after suffering a groin injury in practice on Feb. 16. He played 16 minutes and did not score... Hines had two blocks to pull within one of the school’s career record. He now has 182 in his career... Hickman now has 1093 points to move into ninth place on the UNCG career scoring list... Hickman also went over 500 points for the season. He now has 503, marking the first time in school history two Spartans are over 500 in the same season. Hines has 529 this season. Hickman is the sixth Spartan to achieve the milestone.
ELON 87, UNCG 82
ELON (14-13,10-4 SoCon)
CHALKO, Chris 6-12 4-4 21; RICE, Scottie 4-9 8-8 18; JORDAN, LeVonn 4-6 3-4 11; WYATT, Colin 4-6 1-2 9; WATERS, Brian 2-3 4-5 8; JAMES, Brett 3-7 0-0 7; HARRIS, Simon 2-2 3-4 7; ATOYEBI, Jackson 1-2 4-4 6. Totals 26-47 27-31 87.
UNCG (11-18,4-10 SoCon)
HICKMAN, Ricky 11-19 5-10 34; HINES, Kyle 6-10 6-8 18; BODDIE, Devin 2-7 4-6 10; McCLENNY, David 3-7 1-2 9; TOOMS, Bart 2-3 0-1 5; JOHNSON, Dwayne 2-3 0-0 4; AKINOSHO, Matt 0-0 2-2 2; OLEKSIAK, Kevin 0-3 0-0 0; SIMMONS, Everson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-52 18-29 82.
Halftime: Elon 38-35. 3-point goals-Elon 8-17 (CHALKO, Chris 5-10; RICE, Scottie 2-3; JAMES, Brett 1-3; WATERS, Brian 0-1), UNCG 12-29 (HICKMAN, Ricky 7-13; McCLENNY, David 2-4; BODDIE, Devin 2-5; TOOMS, Bart 1-2; OLEKSIAK, Kevin 0-3; JOHNSON, Dwayne 0-1; HINES, Kyle 0-1). Fouled out--Elon-None, UNCG-McCLENNY, David. Rebounds-Elon 35 (CHALKO, Chris 6), UNCG 21 (McCLENNY, David 5). Assists-Elon 14 (RICE, Scottie 5), UNCG 16 (JOHNSON, Dwayne 8). Total fouls-Elon 21, UNCG 23. A-1154
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