Four Spartans in double figures lead UNCG past Western Carolina
CULLOWHEE, NC – Kevin Oleksiak had a game-high 18 points to lead four Spartans in double figures as UNC Greensboro defeated Western Carolina, 74-62, in a Southern Conference matchup at the Ramsey Center on Thursday night
UNCG won for just the fourth time in 15 trips to Cullowhee. The Spartans raised their record 15-11 overall, 9-8 in league play. Western Carolina dropped to 8-18 overall, 4-12 in SoCon action.
Kyle Hines’ streak of consecutive games in double figures was nearly snapped on Thursday, two days after becoming the sixth player in college basketball history to record 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 300 blocks in a career. Hines, a senior from Sicklerville, NJ, went into the final two minutes for just the second time in the last 76 games with less than 10 points. However, he scored on a post move with 1:39 to play to extend the nation’s longest streak to 76 in a row. Hines, who finished the night with 13 points, has not been held to single figures since December 16, 2005. The only other time Hines’ streak was threatened was last February at home against UNC Wilmington.
Sophmore Mikko Koivisto had 14 points and sophomore Ben Stywall had a double-double with 12 points and a game-high 10 rebounds for UNCG. It was the third double-double in the Charlotte, NC native’s career and the second this season.
Jake Robinson had 16 points to lead Western Carolina. Arnold Gore had 15 points for the Catamounts.
Oleksiak had the hot hand early, scoring nine points in the first eight minutes as UNCG jumped out to a 16-10 advantage. However, Robinson’s three-pointer from the left corner with just under seven minutes left in the opening half capped off a 12-4 spurt and gave the Catamounts their first lead since the opening minute, 22-20.
The teams see-sawed for the rest of the half from there, neither being able to forge more than a two-point lead until the closing seconds. Hines hit a 14-foot leaner to give UNCG a 33-30 lead with seven seconds left. However, Western Carolina’s Eric Wilson hit a 27-footer at the buzzer to tie the score, 33-33, at the intermission.
After the Catmounts scored the first bucked of the second half, UNCG ran off 10 of the next 11 points to take a 43-36 lead. Western Carolina then suffered a set back when leading scorer Brandon Giles picked up his fourth foul with over 14 minutes still left to play. Giles finished the night with 10 points.
The Spartans couldn’t take advantage, though, as the Catamounts closed to within two on Gore’s drive down the lane with 10:08 to play. But after a timeout UNCG ran off five straight to gain some breathing room again, 54-47, capped off by a Koivisto trey from the right side.
The Catamounts cut it to five on a jumper by Gore before UNCG shifted into another gear. UNCG ran off 11 of the next 15 to take its first double-digit lead of the night, 65-53, with 2:42 to play and all that was left in doubt was whether Hines’ streak would get extended.
UNCG closes out the regular season with three in a row at home. The Spartans return to action next Monday when they host College of Charleston at 7 pm
FREE THROWS: Dwayne Johnson hit two milestone of his own on Thursday night. Johnson became the fifth player to record 400 career assists and also surpassed the 300-rebound mark for his career. Now, the latter might seem trivial until you consider that he is the 33rd player in school history to record that number and may be the shortest at just 5-9. He also went over 100 assists for the season... Koivsito extended his streak to 19 straight games with a 3-pointer. The only team to shut him out from behind the arc this season was Virginia Tech... Thursday was the first meeting of the year between the teams. They will close out the regular season against each other on March 3.
UNCG 74, WESTERN CAROLINA 62
UNCG (15-11, 9-8 SoCon)
Kevin Oleksiak 4-10 9-11 18; Mikko Koivisto 4-9 2-2 14; Kyle Hines 5-8 3-6 13; Ben Stywall 3-9 4-5 12; Pete Brown 3-3 0-0 6; Dwayne Johnson 1-5 2-2 5; Kendall Toney 2-2 0-0 5; Davor Galic 0-1 1-2 1; Daniel Oliver 0-1 0-0 0; Landon Clement 0-1 0-0 0; Darrius Sellers 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-49 21-28 74.
WESTERN CAROLINA (8-18, 4-12 SoCon)
Jake Robinson 5-10 2-2 16; Arnold Gore 7-14 1-1 15; Brandon Giles 4-10 2-2 10; Richie Gordon 2-5 3-4 7; Eric Wilson 2-6 0-0 6; Blake Gallagher 1-2 4-6 6; Brigham Waginger 1-5 0-0 2; Negus Mckenna 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 22-53 12-15 62.
Halftime: Tied 33-33. 3-point goals--UNCG 9-20 (Mikko Koivisto 4-8; Ben Stywall 2-3; Kevin Oleksiak 1-5; Dwayne Johnson 1-1; Kendall Toney 1-1; Landon Clement 0-1; Davor Galic 0-1), Western Carolina 6-23 (Jake Robinson 4-9; Eric Wilson 2-4; Brandon Giles 0-3; Brigham Waginger 0-4; Arnold Gore 0-3). Fouled out--UNCG-None, Western Carolina-Brandon Giles. Rebounds--UNCG 34 (Ben Stywall 10), Western Carolina 32 (Arnold Gore 8; Blake Gallagher 8). Assists--UNCG 13 (Dwayne Johnson 4), Western Carolina 9 (Brigham Waginger 4). Total fouls--UNCG 16, Western Carolina 23. Technical fouls--UNCG-None, Western Carolina-None. A-1237
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