Cold finish snaps UNCG four-game winning streak
STATESBORO, GA – A last-second attempt by UNC Greensboro turned into a loose ball scrum as time expired and UNCG lost to Georgia Southern, 80-78, at Hanner Field House.
The Spartans missed four of their last five shots from the floor in the final five minutes and missed six of seven at the free throw line in a stretch before that which could have given UNCG a comfortable margin. Instead, the Spartans found themselves tied at 76-76, with four minutes to play.
Louis Graham had a game-high 25 points to lead Georgia Southern (15-8, 8-5 SoCon). Matthew Fields added 14 points.
Kevin Oleksiak finished with 20 points to lead three Spartans in double figures. Kyle Hines had 19 points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots, while Mikko Koivisto chipped in with 17 points, including 14 in the first half.
Hines became the Southern Conference’s all-time leader in blocked shots when he blocked a dunk attempt by Matthew Fields with 18 minutes left in the game. It was his 309th career block, breaking the record held by Western Carolina’s Rans Brempong. Brempong, who played for the Catamounts from 2001-05, established his mark in 115 career games. Hines broke it in his 109th career game. He now has 312 blocks for his career. It was also the 20th time in his career that he has blocked five or more shots in a game.
The 6-6 senior from Sicklerville, NJ also scored in double-figures for the 101st time in his career and extended his streak of consecutive games with 10 or more points to 70 in a row, the longest in the nation.
With the score 80-78, Oleksiak missed a three-point attempt with 11 seconds left and the Spartans were forced to foul. Antoine Johnson, stepping to the line for the first time all night, missed the front end of the bonus with eight seconds left, leaving the door open. However, as Oleksiak crossed the division line, he was double-teamed by Graham and Foreman and a scrum ensued. Time expired as the players fought for the loose ball and UNCG lost for just the third time in its last 13 games.
The Spartans (13-7, 7-4 SoCon) missed on a chance to move into second place in the Southern Conference’s North Division with Chattanooga falling at Western Carolina, 70-64. The loss snapped UNCG's four-game winning streak.
The game was fast paced all night as UNCG shot 57.4 percent from the floor and Georgia Southern shot an even 50 percent. There were 16 lead changes and 12 ties in the contest.
In the first meeting between the teams, Georgia Southern couldn’t buy a basket at the outset, missing 18 of its first 19 field goal attempts to open the game. The Eagles had the opposite start on Monday, making 9-of-11 from the floor to open the contest to open up an early seven point advantage.
Hines got into some early foul trouble just 6:09 into the game when he picked up his second personal, forcing the Spartans to situation sub with their big man for the remainder of the first half. However, the Spartans held the Eagles without a field goal for 5:10 to rally as the Spartans ran off 10 in a row for their first lead of the night, 25-22.
The game stayed tight for the remainder of the first half, which featured six ties and eight lead changes. With Hines limited, the Spartans relied on the long distance shooting of Koivisto, who finished the first half with 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting, including 4-for-5 from behind the arc. However, a pair of free throws by Fields with four seconds left in the opening half gave the Eagles a 44-42 on lead at the break.
The second half was more of the same back-and-forth action. Neither team got a separation of more than five points throughout the second half. The Spartans led by two when Hines, Ben Stywall and Oleksiak combined to miss six out of seven free throws over a two-minute span. With the score tied at 76-76, the Spartans missed three-point attempts on consecutive possessions and the Eagles got buckets by Fields and Graham to complete an 8-0 run and take a four-point lead with 1:45 to play.
Oleksiak scored on a lay-up to cut it to two with 1:18 to play, UNCG’s only field goal in the final five minutes. UNCG forced a turnover with 23.2 seconds left, pressuring a pass that went off of Graham’s leg out of bounds to give the Spartans one of two chances to tie it or win it. But the Eagles thwarted those to win for the third time in their last four outings.
UNCG returns home to face Wofford at Fleming Gym on Thursday night. Game time is set for 7 pm.
FREE THROWS: Freshman guard Landon Clement returned to the line-up on Monday night after missing Saturday’s game with a right ankle sprain. Clement practiced on it Sunday and was given the green light... Georgia Southern’s Dwayne Foreman broke the school’s record for career assists in the first half of Monday’s game. He finished the night with nine assists... For the ninth time in the last 11 games, the Spartans had three or more players scoring in double figures... It was just the second time this season UNCG has lost when scoring 70 or more points. UNCG is now 11-2 when scoring 70 this season.
GEORGIA SOUTHERN 80, UNCG 78
UNCG (13-7, 7-4 SoCon)
Kevin Oleksiak 7-14 3-5 20; Kyle Hines 9-12 1-3 19; Mikko Koivisto 6-10 0-0 17; Ben Stywall 3-9 0-2 6; Dwayne Johnson 2-3 2-2 6; Kendall Toney 2-3 0-05; Pete Brown 2-2 1-3 5; Davor Galic 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 31-54 7-15 78.
GEORGIA SOUTHERN (15-8, 8-5 SoCon)
Louis Graham 11-17 3-6 25; Matthew Fields 6-9 2-2 14; Willie Powers 4-14 1-2 11; Antoine Johnson 4-6 0-1 10; Dwayne Foreman 3-9 0-0 8; Anthony Marshall 2-4 0-0 6; Julian Allen 2-3 0-0 4; Johntavius Rucker 0-1 2-2 2; Kenith Ward 0-1 0-0 0; Ryan Hynes 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 32-64 8-13 80.
Halftime: Georgia Southern 44-42. 3-point goals--UNCG 9-21 (Mikko Koivisto 5-8; Kevin Oleksiak 3-7; Kendall Toney 1-2; Dwayne Johnson 0-1; Ben Stywall 0-3), Georgia Southern 8-15 (Anthony Marshall 2-3; Dwayne Foreman 2-5; Antoine Johnson 2-2; Willie Powers 2-5). Fouled out--UNCG-None, Georgia Southern-None. Rebounds--UNCG 26 (Kyle Hines 9), Georgia Southern 35 (Matthew Fields 9). Assists--UNCG 23 (Kevin Oleksiak 8), Georgia Southern 21 (Dwayne Foreman 9). Total fouls--UNCG 15, Georgia Southern 15. Technical fouls--UNCG-None, Georgia Southern-None. A-2405
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