Spartans hold off late charge, defeat upstart Gardner-Webb, 76-68
GREENSBORO, NC – Sophomore forward Kyle Hines tied a season-high with 22 points to go along with 10 rebounds, six blocks and five steals as UNC Greensboro held off Gardner-Webb, 76-68, in men’s basketball action Sunday afternoon at Fleming Gym.
It was Hines’ 15th career double-double and his ninth career 20-point game. The six blocks and five steals were also season-highs for the Sicklerville, NJ, native. Junior guard Ricky Hickman added his sixth straight double-digit scoring game this season and his 16th in his last 17 games with 21 points. Hickman struggled with just two points in the first half, making just 1-of-8 from the field – the lone bucket a fast break dunk off a steal. But he connected on 4-of-5 from the field and 9-of-11 at the free throw line in the second half to record 19 of his 21.
Sophomore Kevin Oleksiak added 12 points, the seventh game in double-figures this season for the Abington, PA, native. Sophomore Dwayne Johnson dished out 10 assists for UNCG (6-3), and might have had a school record had it not been for a few missed chippies by the Spartans in the early going.
Gardner-Webb (4-3) got 14 points each from Tim Jennings and Chris Gash. Simon Conn added 11 points and 12 rebounds for upstart the upstart Runnin’ Bulldogs, who already own road wins at Minnesota and East Carolina this season and lost at the buzzer at North Carolina.
UNCG held Gardner-Webb’s top two scorers in check for most of the day. Leading scorer Conn was held six points under his average after coming up with 20 points and 18 rebounds in his last outing. No. 2 scorer Brian Bender was limited to just one field goal and seven points, seven under his average.
“This is a good win,” said UNCG Mike Dement, whose team won for the 20th straight time when tied or leading at the intermission. “Gardner-Webb is a quality team with some quality wins already this season. It is always tough to play a game in the middle of exams because you ask the kids to turn on the academics to do well in finals, turn the switch to basketball for a game today, and then turn it back to academics tonight to go back into exams tomorrow. But I think our kids responded well to the call.
“I thought we did a good job on their big men,” said Dement. “We tried to limit them with good ball pressure. If you let them catch the ball at good angles, they’ll score points.”
Gardner-Webb knocked down three three-pointers in the first seven minutes on its way to an early 17-9 advantage. T.J. McCullough had seven points and Gash had six in the early run. McCullough finished the afternoon with 12 points.
But UNCG went on a 12-2 run to regain the lead midway through the first half. Back-to-back jumpers by Hines sparked the run as UNCG took a 21-19 lead. With the assistance of 10 offensive rebounds and a 14-0 advantage in second-chance points, UNCG took a 36-33 lead to the locker room.
UNCG started to stretch the lead five minutes into the second half. Hickman knocked down a pair of three-pointers and Hines came through with a fantastic baseline reverse dunk to give the Spartans a nine-point lead, 50-41. The lead hit 11 for the first time two minutes later when Hines scored in the lane and got fouled.
The lead hung around 10 for a while before Gardner-Webb cut into it with just under two minutes to play. Two Ricky McPhee free throws, a conventional three-point play by Conn and a three-point field goal by McPhee cut UNCG’s lead to 72-66 with 1:44 to play. But that is as close as the Runnin' Bulldogs would come.
UNCG’s 17 steals were the second-most in school history. The Spartans got those 17 steals on 21 Runnin’ Bulldog turnovers The team record is 19, set last December in a win over Guilford. On the other side of the equation, the Spartans had just 11 turnovers, a season-low for the second straight game. The Spartans had 14 in their win at East Carolina on Tuesday night and every other game this season has seen UNCG committed at least 18 turnovers.
UNCG will host next-door neighbor Greensboro College on Friday night at 7 pm.
SIDELINES: Hines scored 10 of his 11 first-half points in the first 12 minutes to nearly single-handedly carry the Spartans to their early lead... Hickman missed his first five shots from the field before a steal and dunk that tied the game, 19-19... Hickman knocked down his 200th career free throw in the second half of Sunday’s game, a mark achieved only 11 times in UNCG men’s basketball history... Johnson’s 10 assists was the second double-figure assist game of his career. Last year, he tied the UNCG Division I era record with 12 against Bridgewater. He is the seventh player in school history to record 10 assists in a game twice. It was the 15th time a UNCG player recorded 10 assists... Mike Dement is now 2-0 all-time against Gardner-Webb, having also beat them while he was head coach at SMU...UNCG’s win on Sunday was their 48th in their last 60 games at Fleming. It was also their eighth straight home non-conference win and 26th in the last 27 home non-conference contests... Although it is still early in the season, Gardner-Webb’s RPI was 83 entering Sunday’s game.
UNC GREENSBORO 76, GARDNER-WEBB 68
Gash, Chris 5-8 0-0 14; Jennings, Tim 4-11 4-6 14; McCullough, T.J. 5-6 1-2 12; Conn, Simon 5-10 1-1 11; McPhee, Ricky 2-6 2-2 8; Bender, Brian 1-6 5-6 7; Siddle, Takayo 0-3 2-2 2; Graham, Clint 0-0 0-0 0; Jones, Mike 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-50 15-19 68.
Hines, Kyle 9-22 4-8 22; Hickman, Ricky 5-13 9-11 21; Oleksiak, Kevin 4-8 2-2 12; Tooms, Bart 2-5 4-4 8; Johnson, Dwayne 1-2 2-4 5; McClenny, David 2-5 0-1 4; Simmons, Everson 1-1 0-0 2; Beckford, Brian 1-2 0-0 2; Akinosho, Matt 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 25-59 21-30 76.
Halftime: UNCG 36-33. 3-point goals-Gardner-Webb 9-20 (Gash, Chris 4-6; Jennings, Tim 2-6; McPhee, Ricky 2-4; McCullough, T.J. 1-1; Siddle, Takayo 0-1; Bender, Brian 0-2), UNCG 5-13 (Hickman, Ricky 2-5; Oleksiak, Kevin 2-4; Johnson, Dwayne 1-1; McClenny, David 0-2; Hines, Kyle 0-1). Fouled out--Gardner-Webb-None, UNCG-None. Rebounds-Gardner-Webb 37 (Conn, Simon 12), UNCG 36 (Hines, Kyle 10). Assists-Gardner-Webb 11 (Siddle, Takayo 4), UNCG 15 Johnson, Dwayne 10). Total fouls-Gardner-Webb 22, UNCG 18. A-802
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