Hines' 33 points lift UNCG over Appalachian State and into first place in SoCon North
GREENSBORO, NC – Kyle Hines scored 33 points on 14-of-19 shooting from the floor as UNC Greensboro took over first place in the Southern Conference’s North Division with an 80-76 win over Appalachian State in front of a sellout crowd at Fleming Gym on Thursday night.
Appalachian State (13-5, 5-2) shot an unbelievable 64.6 percent, the seventh time in the last eight games that the Mountaineers have shot 50 percent or better from the floor. UNCG shot well, too, scoring at a 59.2 percent clip. However, UNCG made 7-of-10 at the line in the final two minutes after making just 7-of-18 in the game’s first 38 minutes.
A crowd of 1,750 saw the game featured 18 lead changes and seven ties. Neither team held a double digit margin, although Appalachian State had a nine-point lead in the first half.
Hines’ 33-point effort was the third 30-point game of the season for the junior from Sicklerville, NJ. He is the third player in school history and the first since 1988-89, to accomplish that feat. He extended his string of games with 10 or more points to 39 straight games, 20 of which have been for 20 or more points.
Appalachian State came in with an RPI of 48, making it UNCG’s highest RPI-rated win ever. UNCG’s previous best was when it beat Davidson in the SoCon Tournament semifinals two years ago and the Wildcats’ were No. 68 thanks to the nation’s longest winning streak at the time at 16 games.
UNCG (9-9, 6-2) also got 16 points from freshman Kendall Toney and 10 points from freshman Ben Stywall. Toney knocked down five three-pointers for the second straight game.
Appalachian State, which has beaten Virginia and Vanderbilt on neutral floors and has won at CAA-frontrunner Virginia Commonwealth this season, was led by Demetrius Scott’s 16 points. D.J. Thompson added 15 points and Donte Minter chipped in with 14.
“I don’t think I have ever seen a game where a team shot 65 percent and lost,” said UNCG coach Mike Dement. “I told the guys in the locker room afterwards that at the start of the year, we were finding ways to lose games. Now, it seems like we are starting to find ways to win them. We had to find a way tonight with them shooting like they did.
“We came in the best field goal percentage defense team in the league and they just shot the lights out on us. At halftime, I gave this rousing sermon on how we had to get better defensively in the second half... and they shot 71 percent. But we got a couple of stops in some key places and some people made some big plays for us.”
Appalachian State came out bombing away from deep. In the first four minutes of the Mountaineers hit their first four shots from three-point range, two by Nathan Cranford and two by D.J. Thompson. UNCG countered by going to its big gun in Kyle Hines, picking up three early fouls on the Appalachian State frontcourt and sending Jeremy Clayton to the bench early after two quick ones.
Making seven of their first 10 from the field overall, Appalachian State opened up an early 19-10 lead in the first 6:40 of the contest. But the Mountaineers made just 2-of-6 from behind the three-point line after the first four minutes of the game.
Still trailing by seven points midway through the first half, UNCG went on a 9-0 run to take its first lead since the opening seconds of the game. Ricky Hickman got it started with a rainbow jumper from the left corner with 11:12 left in the half and when it was done more than four minutes later, UNCG held a 25-23 lead. Appalachian State, however, closed out the half on a 12-4 run to take a 42-38 lead into the break.
UNCG opened the second half on a 7-2 run to regain the lead briefly, but the Mountaineers answered with an 8-1 run to open up a six-point advantage, 52-46, with 15 minutes to play.
UNCG rallied with the next five points and it became a see-saw affair from there. A timeout by the UNCG bench set-up a play that swung the momentum with 2:39 left. With the shot clock winding down, Dement called a timeout. As he called timeout, Mikko Koivisto released a three-point attempt from the left corner. The ball went in for what would have been a five-point lead. Instead, UNCG was given the timeout.
However, coming out of the timeout, Hines scored off an out-of-bounds play to give UNCG a four-point lead, 73-69. UNCG then forced a shot clock violation on the other end and gained possession with 1:58 to play.
Koivisto missed a three-pointer 17 seconds later, but chased down his own rebound to give UNCG a fresh shot clock. Appalachian State was then forced to foul. The Spartans then hit 7-of-10 over the final 1:12 to hold off the Mountaineers and gain first place in the SoCon North Division.
The Spartans are 6-2 in league play for the first time since 2001-02. That year, UNCG ended up tied for first in the SoCon North on its way to an NIT bid.
UNCG returns to action on Saturday when it travels to Charleston, SC to face The Citadel for a 1:05 pm tip.
SIDELINES: One team or the other has swept the regular season series in eight of the 10 seasons that UNCG and Appalachian State have been together in the Southern Conference. UNCG owns five of those sweeps, while Appalachian State owns three of them. Last year, the teams split homecourt wins... Kyle Hines’ career field goal percentage dipped below 60 percent for the first time in 65 games this week. Hines had not been below 60 percent since January 8, 2005 when he went 11-for-13 from the field in Boone against Appalachian State to move about 60 percent for his then-young career... after taking 23 charges in UNCG’s first 12 games, UNCG had gone five games without one until Ricky Hickman drew one midway through the first half... In Hines’ career against Appalachian State, he is shooting 75.4 percent from the floor (49-65) and averaging 23.2 points in the five contests... Hines moved into second place on UNCG’s career field goals list... In the last 10 games, Kendall Toney is now 34-of-64 from three-point range... the other two UNCG players to score 30 points three times in a season were Marvin Dawson (1988-89) and Robert Bryant (1985-86). Dawson did it in UNCG’s Division II era, while Bryant did it when UNCG was a Division III member... Hickman finished with nine points and six assists, which tied a career-high.
UNCG 80, APPALACHIAN STATE 76
APPALACHIAN STATE (13-5, 5-2 SoCon)
SCOTT, Demetrius 8-10 0-0 16; THOMPSON, D.J. 4-6 3-3 15; MINTER, Donte 6-9 2-4 14; CLAYTON, Jeremy 4-6 1-1 9; BOWNE, Davis 4-6 0-0 8; CRANFORD, Nathan 2-4 0-0 6; BRAND, Kellen 2-5 1-3 5; HENDERSON, P.L. 1-2 1-2 3; WEBB, Tyler 0-0 0-0 0; ABRAHAM, Ryann 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 31-48 8-13 76.
UNCG (9-9, 6-2 SoCon)
HINES, Kyle 14-19 5-11 33; TONEY, Kendall 5-9 1-4 16; STYWALL, Ben 4-5 2-5 10; HICKMAN, Ricky 3-7 2-2 9; JOHNSON, Dwayne 1-1 3-4 6; KOIVISTO, Mikko 2-7 0-0 5; OLEKSIAK, Kevin 0-1 1-2 1; BROWN, Pete 0-0 0-0 0; AKINOSHO, Matt 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-49 14-28 80.
Halftime: Appalachian State 42-38. 3-point goals--Appalachian State 6-10 (THOMPSON, D.J. 4-5; CRANFORD, Nathan 2-3; BRAND, Kellen 0-1; SCOTT, Demetrius 0-1), UNCG 8-17 (TONEY, Kendall 5-8; JOHNSON, Dwayne 1-1; HICKMAN, Ricky 1-3; KOIVISTO, Mikko 1-4; OLEKSIAK, Kevin 0-1). Fouled out--Appalachian State-None, UNCG-None. Rebounds--Appalachian State 22 (MINTER, Donte 5), UNCG 27 (STYWALL, Ben 7; HINES, Kyle 7). Assists--Appalachian State 15 (THOMPSON, D.J. 5), UNCG 19 (HICKMAN, Ricky 6). Total fouls--Appalachian State 23, UNCG 16. Technical fouls--Appalachian State-None, UNCG-None. A-1750
- UNCG -