UNCG falls to Wofford, 59-56
GREENSBORO, NC – Drew Gibson made two free throws with 3.2 seconds to play and Kyle Hines’ 3-pointer at the buzzer bounced off the rim as Wofford rallied for a 59-56 win over UNC Greensboro at Fleming Gym on Thursday night.
Gibson’s free throws capped a wild ending to the contest. Trailing by two with eight seconds left, the Spartans gave Hines the ball out top coming out of a timeout, trying to get the big man the ball before Wofford could double-team him. He drove the right side, getting fouled on the way to the basket. The shot rolled around and came out – what would have tied the game and gave Hines a chance to give UNCG the lead. Instead, Hines stepped to the line with two shots to possibly tie the game. He missed the first and made the second, however, forcing the Spartans to foul again.
The Spartans (13-8, 7-5) took a 51-48 lead when Kevin Oleksiak hit three free throws, the last two coming with 4:18 left. Oleksiak made 1-of-2, but grabbed the rebound on his miss and was fouled again. He made both on the second trip to make it a three-point game. Drew Gibson tied the game with 3:30 left when he knocked down a trey from the left wing.
Hines gave the Spartans a three-point lead again with just under three minutes left. Dwayne Johnson made his first free throw, but missed the second. This time, Hines cleaned up the miss to make it a 54-51 lead and give himself the 41st 20-point game of his career.
Wofford, which won at Fleming for the first time since January 4, 1999, regained the lead, however, after a pair of free throws and a Corey Godzinsky drive with 1:40 to play, 55-54. Junior Salters then knocked down a jumper almost a minute later to give the Terriers a three-point lead.
UNCG suffered from free throw shooting woes for the second straight game, shooting just 7-for-18 from the line on Thursday night. UNCG shot just 7-for-15 at the line in a two-point loss at Georgia Southern on Monday night.
Four of UNCG’s five conference losses have now come in the final 40 seconds of the respective games.
The Terriers won for the sixth time in the last seven games and are now 14-9 overall and 7-6 in SoCon play.
Shane Nichols led Wofford with 21 points. Gibson, who beat UNCG with a three-pointer with four seconds left in the first meeting back in December, added 11 points.
Hines, a senior from Sicklerville, NJ, finished with game-highs of 22 points, 12 rebounds and seven blocks. The seven blocks tied his own school record, which he had done twice before. It was his 11th double-double of the season, tying another school record of his, and the 42nd of his career. He also extended his streak to 71 consecutive games in double figures and moved to within eight points of 2,000 for his career.
He was the only Spartan in double-figures. Mikko Koivisto chipped in with eight points on a night when the Spartan perimeter struggled to get going. UNCG’s triple threat of three-point shooters – Koivisto, Kendall Toney and Kevin Oleksiak – combined to go just 2-for-13 from behind the arc.
For the third straight home game, the Spartans got out to a quick start. In its previous two home games, UNCG led The Citadel, 17-0, and Elon, 15-4, at the outset. On Thursday night, UNCG ran out to a 19-4 lead in the first nine minutes of the contest, forcing six Wofford turnovers in that span. A Drew Gibson three-pointer was the only field goal the Terriers managed in that time. But Wofford settled into a rhythm, however, to score eight straight and start chipping away at the deficit.
The Terriers turned the ball over just twice in the next 11 minutes and connected just three times for the remainder of the contest. Wofford made 9 of 15 from the floor to close out the half and then went 13-for-25 from the field in the second half. Meanwhile, UNCG closed the half missing 11 of its last 15 as Wofford pulled to within two at the break, 27-25.
Corey Godzinski’s trey from the right corner gave Wofford their first lead of the night just 33 seconds into the second half. The Spartans regained the lead and stretched it out to six midway through the second half, but a 5-0 spurt by the Terriers erased any ideas of separation between the teams down the stretch.
Wofford came into the game ranked sixth in the nation in three-point field goal percentage at nearly 42 percent, while the Spartans were in the bottom 20 teams in three-point field goal defense. UNCG did an admirable job in that department, holding the Terriers to just 4-for-14 from behind the arc. However, UNCG’s free throw shooting cost it a potential win for the second straight game.
The Spartans visit Furman for a Sunday contest. Game time is set for 2 pm. Wofford hosts Elon at 7 pm Saturday night.
FREE THROWS: Nineteen of UNCG’s first 23 points came from the frontcourt (10 by Hines, five by Stywall and four by Brown); included in that were three-pointers by Stywall and Hines (just the fourth of his career). It wasn’t until the 16:52 mark of the second half that a guard made a 3-point shot, that came on a Koivisto trey... Talk about a reversal of fortunes: entering Thursday’s game, UNCG was shooting 50.4 percent from the floor and allowing 39.4 percent in its 13 wins; in its seven losses, the Spartans were shooting 39.5 percent from the floor and allowing 50.4 percent. Wofford shot 45 percent on Thursday night to UNCG’s 41.5 percent.
WOFFORD 59, UNCG 56
WOFFORD (14-9, 7-6)
Shane Nichols 8-12 4-5 21; Drew Gibson 4-8 2-3 11; Corey Godzinski 4-7 0-0 9; Junior Salters 3-7 0-0 7; Terry Martin 1-1 2-2 4; Tyler Whatley 1-5 1-2 3; Noah Dahlman 1-2 0-0 2; Tim Johnson 1-8 0-0 2; Matt Estep 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 23-51 9-12 59.
UNCG (13-8, 7-5)
Kyle Hines 9-15 3-7 22; Mikko Koivisto 3-8 0-0 8; Ben Stywall 3-7 0-1 7; Dwayne Johnson 2-4 1-3 5; Kevin Oleksiak 1-8 3-4 5; Pete Brown 2-3 0-1 4; Davor Galic 1-4 0-2 3; Landon Clement 1-2 0-0 2; Darrius Sellers 0-0 0-0 0; Kendall Toney 0-3 0-0 0; Daniel Oliver 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-54 7-18 56.
Halftime: UNCG 27-25. 3-point goals--Wofford 4-14 (Drew Gibson 1-1; Junior Salters 1-3; Shane Nichols 1-5; Corey Godzinski 1-4; Matt Estep 0-1), UNCG 5-23 (Mikko Koivisto 2-6; Davor Galic 1-4; Kyle Hines 1-2; Ben Stywall 1-2; Landon Clement 0-1; Kendall Toney 0-2; Kevin Oleksiak 0-5; Dwayne Johnson 0-1). Fouled out--Wofford-Tyler Whatley, UNCG-None. Rebounds--Wofford 32 (Tim Johnson 7), UNCG 37 (Kyle Hines 12). Assists--Wofford 11 (Drew Gibson 8), UNCG 8 (Dwayne Johnson 3). Total fouls--Wofford 19, UNCG 15. Technical fouls--Wofford-None, UNCG-None. A-1170
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