Second half run lifts UNCG over Chattanooga, 68-61
CHATTANOOGA, TN – A 19-2 run by UNC Greensboro to open the second half lifted the Spartans over Chattanooga, 68-61, at McKenzie Arena on Saturday night in the regular-season finale for both teams.
The win was UNCG’s first over the Mocs on their home floor since February 12, 2000 and gave the Spartans a 12-6 mark in conference play, their highest league win total since 1994-95. The win also snapped a three-game road losing streak and assured UNCG of a winning season.
UNCG (16-13, 12-6 SoCon) will open the Southern Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament on Thursday as the fourth see against No. 5 Furman. That quarterfinal game will tip-off at approximately 4:30 pm. Chattanooga will have to play in the opening round on Wednesday as the No. 8 seed, facing ninth-seeded Wofford at 3 pm.
Kyle Hines led a balanced UNCG attack with 18 points, his 49t h consecutive game scoring in double figures. Mikko Koivisto chipped in with 11 points, his seventh time in double figures in the last eight games. Ricky Hickman also added 10 points.
“We haven’t won here in quite a while, so this is a big win for us,” said UNCG coach Mike Dement. “This was the most poise we’ve showed in a 40-minute span this season. It gets us to 16 wins and gives us good momentum going into the tournament to face a good Furman team.”
UNCG shot 10-for-17 from the floor in the second half, including 7-of-13 from three-point range. Five different Spartans had a three-pointer in the game and all had multiple treys for the game.
Chattanooga (14-17, 6-12 SoCon) was led by Casey Long’s 11 points and Ricky Hood’s 10 points.
The game was a grinder at the start. Both teams got after it defensively right from the outset and the scoreboard showed it. Six minutes into the game, UNCG held a slim 7-6 advantage. But consecutive three-pointers by Kendall Toney and Ricky Hickman gave UNCG a seven-point lead.
UNCG held onto the lead for most of the first half, although it never got to be more than seven. Chattanooga regained the lead, however, with 34.6 seconds remaining in the first half when Marcus Watts converted a conventional three-point lead to give the Mocs a 28-26 lead. But Kendall Toney’s three-pointer with 2.7 seconds left gave UNCG a 29-28 lead at the intermission.
But the Spartans went on a 19-2 run over the first 7:45 of the second half to open up their first double-digit lead of the night, 48-30. Chattanooga went 6:21 between field goals as UNCG blew the game wide-open.
The Mocs made a late run with three-pointers. Ricky Hood’s three-pointer with 1:52 to play cut the deficit to 12 at 64-52. The Mocs would cut it to seven in the closing seconds as UNCG did not record a field goal over the final 3:06. But it was not enough to complete a comeback.
SIDELINES: Saturday was Senior Night III for UNCG. The Spartans celebrated their Senior Night last Saturday, Appalachian State saluted its seniors on Thursday night, and Chattanooga paid tribute to its four seniors before Saturday night’s game.
UNCG 68, CHATTANOOGA 61
UNCG (16-13, 12-6)
HINES, Kyle 6-9 6-14 18; KOIVISTO, Mikko 2-6 5-6 11; HICKMAN, Ricky 2-9 4-8 10; TONEY, Kendall 3-6 0-0 9; JOHNSON, Dwayne 3-5 0-0 8; OLEKSIAK, Kevin 2-5 0-0 6; TOOMS, Bart 2-4 0-0 4; STYWALL, Ben 1-2 0-0 2; BROWN, Pete 0-1 0-0 0; AKINOSHO, Matt 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-47 15-28 68.
CHATTANOOGA (14-17, 6-12)
LONG, CASEY 4-9 2-5 11; HOOD, Ricky 4-6 0-0 10; MAYS, Keddric 3-10 1-2 8; WATTS, Marcus 2-5 4-4 8; GYWNNE, Matt 3-6 1-2 8; HARTWELL, Khalil 2-3 2-6 6; DOAKS, Nicchaeus 2-11 2-4 6; BRIDGEWATERS, Kevin 2-5 0-1 4; LOWNDES, Bernard 0-1 0-0 0; FERRELL, Zach 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-56 12-24 61.
Halftime: UNCG 29-28. 3-point goals--UNCG 11-26 (TONEY, Kendall 3-5; HICKMAN, Ricky 2-8; KOIVISTO, Mikko 2-6; OLEKSIAK, Kevin 2-4; JOHNSON, Dwayne 2-3), Chattanooga 5-20 (HOOD, Ricky 2-3; LONG, CASEY 1-4; MAYS, Keddric 1-6; GYWNNE, Matt 1-3; BRIDGEWATERS, Kevin 0-1; DOAKS, Nicchaeus 0-2; WATTS, Marcus 0-1). Fouled out--UNCG-None, Chattanooga-None. Rebounds--UNCG 36 (HINES, Kyle 8), Chattanooga 39 (LONG, CASEY 7; DOAKS, Nicchaeus 7). Assists--UNCG 10 (JOHNSON, Dwayne 5), Chattanooga 10 (LONG, CASEY 4). Total fouls--UNCG 24, Chattanooga 20. Technical fouls--UNCG-None, Chattanooga-None. A-3571
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