Second half explosion lifts East Carolina over UNCG
GREENVILLE, NC – East Carolina made 14 of its first 16 field goal attempts in the second half to blow the game open on its way to a 97-53 win over UNC Greensboro in men's basketball action at Mingles Coliseum on Saturday night.
The Pirates outscored the Spartans 33-7 over a 10-minute span of the second half to turn a nine-point halftime lead into a comfortable margin.
Montel Smith, returning to his hometown of Greenville, had 11 points to lead UNCG (1-6). He was the only Spartan in double figures. Mikko Koivisto and Pete Brown each added nine points. Ben Stywall had 10 rebounds for the third consecutive game.
Koivisto now has a three-pointer in 31 straight games, the third-longest active streak in the nation. He is tied with American's Garrison Carr and Chris Harris of Navy at 31 straight. Ryan Toolson of Utah Valley State had the longest streak with 54 straight entering his game late Saturday night. Koivsito's streak is also the second longest in school history behind Scott Hartzell's 42 straight in the early 1990s.
East Carolina, which won its fifth straight game for the first time since 2003, had all five starters score in double figures. Sam Hinnant led the way with 18 points, while Brock Young had 12 points and 12 assists. Young entered the game second in the nation in assists at 8.2 per game. He tied his career-high set 10 days earlier against UNC Wilmington.
In all, seven Pirates scored in double figures as they moved to 8-1 on the season, just the third 8-1 start for the program in the last 20 seasons.
"They are a very confident team right now, I think," said UNCG coach Mike Dement. "That's the complete opposite of us right now. We aren't very confident. We aren't knocking down shots and we're missing layups and such. We were playing hard early. We had a few turnovers in a row again, and that helped them to that seven point lead.
"At halftime, I think they had everybody that had played had scored for them and we were struggling to find scorers. I think East Carolina has a lot of weapons across the board and right now we don't seem to be able to have a great defensive effort when things don't go well on the offensive end."
If the Spartans had any hangover from the start of the final exam period, it didn't show coming out of the gate. UNCG took it right at the Pirates at the outset, jumping out to an 8-3 lead. After a great look by Daniel Oliver to find Ben Stywall in transition, UNCG had a 10-6 lead 3:46 into the game and Pirate coach Mack McCarthy was calling an early timeout.
But the Pirates scored 12 straight to gain control midway through the half, 22-15. A trey in transition by Jontae Sherrod gave the Pirates their first double-digit lead of the night, 29-17, with 8:46 to play. East Carolina missed four of its first five field goal attempts of the game, but then hit eight of its next 13 to recover and open up a comfortable margin.
UNCG chipped away at the deficit, though. A nice feed from Kendall Toney to Pete Brown down low cut it to 33-27 with four minutes left before the break. The Pirates managed to take a nine-point lead to the locker room, however, 41-32.
The Pirates came out of the locker room red hot, however. East Carolina made nine of their first 11 from the floor in the second half to extend the lead to 23, and then made five in a row. Things continued to snowball for UNCG as the Spartans went nine minutes without a field goal before Elhanan Bone's dunk with just under six minutes to play.
East Carolina finished the game with 15 three-pointers, nine of them coming in the second half when they outscored the Spartans, 56-21.
The Spartans return to action at the conclusion of exams, hitting the road to face Kent State on Thursday night. Game time is set for 7 pm.
EAST CAROLINA 97, UNCG 53
Montel Smith 4-6 2-4 11; Pete Brown 4-9 1-1 9; Mikko Koivisto 2-7 3-5 9; Daniel Oliver 3-8 0-0 7; Elhanan Bone 2-8 2-2 6; Damian Eargle 2-7 1-2 5; Ben Stywall 1-3 2-4 4; Kendall Toney 1-8 0-0 2; Deangelo Jackson 0-0 0-0 0; Sean Spooner 0-0 0-0 0; Landon Clement 0-7 0-0 0. Totals 19-63 11-18 53.
EAST CAROLINA (8-1)
Sam Hinnant 6-11 2-2 18; Jontae Sherrod 5-8 0-0 13; Jamar Abrams 4-6 2-3 12; Chris Turner 4-7 2-3 12; Brock Young 3-5 6-8 12; James Legan 4-10 0-0 12; Chad Wynn 5-9 0-2 10; Darrius Morrow 2-2 2-6 6; Chris Kupets 1-2 0-0 2; Matt Steele 0-0 0-0 0; Greyson Sargent 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 34-60 14-24 97.
Halftime: East Carolina 41-32. 3-point goals--UNCG 4-21 (Mikko Koivisto 2-6; Daniel Oliver 1-2; Montel Smith 1-2; Ben Stywall 0-1; Kendall Toney 0-4; Landon Clement 0-6), East Carolina 15-29 (Sam Hinnant 4-9; James Legan 4-8; Jontae Sherrod 3-4; Chris Turner 2-3; Jamar Abrams 2-4; Chris Kupets 0-1). Fouled out--UNCG-None, East Carolina-None. Rebounds--UNCG 34 (Ben Stywall 10), East Carolina 45 (Darrius Morrow 10). Assists--UNCG 12 (Daniel Oliver 5), East Carolina 23 (Brock Young 12). Total fouls--UNCG 20, East Carolina 13. Technical fouls--UNCG-None, East Carolina-None. A-4678
FREE THROWS: UNCG coach Mike Dement returned to his alma mater for the second time since coming back to UNCG. Dement played at East Carolina in the mid 1970's and had a short stint as an assistant coach there (1985-86) before going to Cornell to become the head coach... Ben Stywall topped the 500-point mark for his career in the first half of Saturday night's game... All of Pete Brown's nine points came in the first half, topping his career-high. His previous career best was eight against Wofford in his freshman season... Mikko Koivisto moved up to sixth on the school's career three-point field goal list on Saturday night, now with 155. He passed James Maye (153) and Skeet Woolard (154) on Saturday.
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