UNCG advances with 69-65 win over Western Carolina
CHARLESTON, SC – Sophomore forward Kyle Hines recorded his 10th double-double of the season with 26 points and 10 rebounds to lead 10th-seeded UNC Greensboro to a 69-65 win over Western Carolina in the opening round of the 2006 Southern Conference Men’s Basketball Championship at the North Charleston Coliseum.
UNCG will face Elon on Friday in the quarterfinal round of the tournament. The Phoenix are seeded No. 2 in the tournament and have beaten UNCG twice already. However, Western Carolina also owned two wins over UNCG during the regular season. UNCG has only been beaten by a team three times in the same season once during its Division I era, that was by Davidson in 2002.
“We have been in these possession-by-possession games for the last month of the season,” said UNCG coach Mike Dement. “I thought our defense was better this time around against Western Carolina. This is certainly a good win for us.”
Hines broke the UNCG record for points by a sophomore and extended his string of games with 10 or more points to 20 consecutive games. He eclipsed the old sophomore scoring record of 539 held by Yusuf Stewart. He now has 557 points this season, which is also the second-most by a player in school history. The double-double was his 21st, which tied for the second-most in school history.
Hines also broke the UNCG career blocked shots record. He had two on Thursday to give 184 for his career, passing the mark set by Eric Cuthrell with 183 from 1992-96. Hines achieved the mark in just 59 career games.
Kevin Oleksiak added 13 points for UNCG (12-18), which snapped a six-game losing streak. Oleksiak, who is just getting back to full strength after missing three games with a groin injury and being virtually ineffective due to the injury in his first game back, was 4-for-6 from behind the three-point line.
UNCG also got nine points from point guard Dwayne Johnson, seven of those in the second half.
“(Hines and Hickman) have had such good years with so much attention being put on them by the opposition,” said Dement. “For us to win, we need others to step up and I thought Matt Akinosho, David McClenny, Dwayne Johnson and Devin Boddie made plays tonight that really helped us in this victory. With both of them (Hines and Hickman) being voted to the all-conference squad, it is amazing the way they find a way to get it done every night.”
Corey Muirhead led Western Carolina (13-17) with 25 points and eight rebounds. David Berghoefer added 10 points and 12 rebounds for the Catamounts.
UNCG’s Ricky Hickman had his double-figure scoring streak snapped at 27 games. Hickman scored just eight points, all in the final 14:14, to snap his school-record string that dated back to last year’s SoCon Tournament. He last failed to score 10 in the SoCon semifinals against Davidson last March 4.
The Catamounts, the seventh-seed in the tournament, got out to a quick start with a 10-2 lead four minutes into the contest. UNCG, however, started to turn it around with a 10-0 run, started by a pair of three-pointers just inside of the 12-minute mark. Kevin Oleksiak knocked down a trey from the right wing, followed by a Devin Boddie three-pointers on the next possession from the right corner. Hines scored on a putback on the next possession and UNCG had rallied to tie the game. Hines scored again the next trip down the floor and the Spartans had their first lead of the night, 18-16, with 9:57 to play.
Corey Muirhead scored the last six points of a 12-0 Western Carolina run, including two on an alley-oop dunk, as the Catamounts regained the lead, 30-24 with two minutes left in the half. UNCG closed the gap to two, however, just before half when Kevin Oleksiak knocked down his third three-pointer of the game to send the teams to the locker room with a 32-30 score.
After Greathouse opened the second half with a 3-pointer, UNCG ran off seven straight to begin a 17-2 run. The run, capped off by Ricky Hickman’s first basket of the game, gave UNCG a 47-37 lead.
Western Carolina battled back to cut it to 55-52 when Muirhead converted a conventional three-point play. Aaron Wilson drove the baseline to cut it to one with 7:20 to play. Hines scored and Matt Akinosho converted a three-point play and UNCG’s lead was back to six with six minutes to play. But the Catamounts responded to score seven of the next nine and cut it to one again, 60-59.
The Spartans, however, shifted into overdrive one last time. Hickman scored on back-to-back possessions to make it a 64-61 lead. Then, after Hines blocked an Antonio Russell shot to set the UNCG career rejection record, he went to the other end and found himself wide open on a pass from the high post. He turned and slammed it open to give UNCG a five-point lead with 1:24 to play.
“When we came out of the final media timeout, coach told me that I was capable of a big play,” said Hickman. “I thought I made the right decision down the stretch on the drive to the basket.”
Berghoeffer scored on Western Carolina’s next trip, but after both teams failed to score on their next possessions, Western Carolina had to foul. Oleksiak made one of two at the line to make it a four-point game. Muirfield cut it back to two with 20 seconds left before Devin Boddie, UNCG’s lone senior, was fouled with 11 seconds left. The Raleigh, NC, native made both free throws to put the game away.
SIDELINES: UNCG is now 3-0 all-time against Western Carolina in Southern Conference Tournament action... Hickman also saw his string of consecutive games with a 3-pointer snapped at 25 straight... Western Carolina was one of two teams not represented on any of the postseason all-conference teams. The Catamounts did not gain recognition on the coaches’ 10-person all-conference squad of the all-freshman squad, nor did they on the media association’s three all-conference squads... Hickman didn’t score until the 14:14 mark of the second half, and yet his first basket gave UNCG a 10-point lead... Mike Dement’s teams are now 9-9 all-time in conference tournament action, advancing at least one round in seven of 10 tournaments.
UNC GREENSBORO 69, WESTERN CAROLINA 65
UNC GREENSBORO (12-18)
HINES, Kyle 10-16 6-8 26; OLEKSIAK, Kevin 4-8 1-2 13; JOHNSON, Dwayne 3-5 2-2 9; HICKMAN, Ricky 4-17 0-0 8; AKINOSHO, Matt 2-3 2-3 6; BODDIE, Devin 1-3 2-2 5; McCLENNY, David 1-1 0-0 2; TOOMS, Bart 0-2 0-0 0; SIMMONS, Everson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-55 13-17 69.
WESTERN CAROLINA (13-17)
MUIRHEAD, Corey 9-14 6-8 25; GREATHOUSE, Kyle 5-12 0-0 14; BERGHOEFER, David 4-13 2-6 10; McKENNA, Negus 2-9 0-0 5; RUSSELL, Antonio 1-9 3-4 5; WILSON, Eric 2-3 0-0 4; OUTING, Jared 1-1 0-0 2; JOHNSON, Stan 0-0 0-0 0; HOPKINS, Trey 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-61 11-18 65.
Halftime: Western Carolina, 32-30. 3-point goals-UNC Greensboro 6-16 (OLEKSIAK, Kevin 4-6; BODDIE, Devin 1-2; JOHNSON, Dwayne 1-2; HICKMAN, Ricky 0-6), Western Carolina 6-22 (GREATHOUSE, Kyle 4-11; McKENNA, Negus 1-6; MUIRHEAD, Corey 1-1; RUSSELL, Antonio 0-4). Fouled out--UNC Greensboro-None, Western Carolina-None. Rebounds-UNC Greensboro 31 (HINES, Kyle 10), Western Carolina 44 (BERGHOEFER, David 12). Assists-UNC Greensboro 17 (HICKMAN, Ricky 6), Western Carolina 12 (MUIRHEAD, Corey 5). Total fouls-UNC Greensboro 17, Western Carolina 17.
- UNCG -