UNCG rally falls short, 73-60, despite Koivisto's 24 points
CONWAY, AR – Junior forward Mikko Koivisto scored eight of his 24 points in a late surge, but it wasn't enough as UNC Greensboro lost on the road to Central Arkansas, 73-60, Saturday night in men's basketball action at the Farris Center.
UNCG held Central Arkansas to just one field goal in nearly a five minute span to climb back into it late, turning a 21-point deficit into just a 10-point margin with 3:45 to play. Koivisto's drive to the bucket with 2:38 to play pulled the Spartans to within single-digits, 66-57, for the first time since the closing seconds of the first half.
After UCA missed a three-pointer with the shot clock winding down, Ben Stywall drove the lane for UNCG and got fouled with 1:56 to go. But he missed both free throws and Mitch Rueter drained a three-pointer on the other end to put it out of reach.
Junior guard Montel Smith added 11 points and Ben Stywall had nine points and eight rebounds for UNCG (1-2). The Spartans, however, could not overcome 23 turnovers, including 16 in the first half. It was UNCG's third consecutive game this season with 20 or more turnovers. UNCG also didn't help itself at the free throw line, shooting just 12-of-24 from the stripe.
Mike Pouncy had 26 points to lead all scorers, shooting 11-for-14 from the floor. He was the only Bear in double figures. UCA (2-1) shot 49.2 percent from the floor for the game and turned the 23 UNCG turnovers into 26 points.
The Spartans lost Landon Clement to his second foul six minutes into the contest, the 10th foul whistled on the two teams to that point. Clement came into the game as UNCG's leading scorer at 19.5 points per game this season. With Clement out, UNCG hung tough as neither team was able to open up a lead of more than four. Clement came back five minutes later, but wound up the night scoreless.
The first separation of the game occurred coming out of the eight-minute media timeout. Central Arkansas ran off five straight points – a trey by Marcus Pillow and a layup by Pouncy – to begin an 11-1 run and open up a 28-18 lead. In fact, Pouncy had 13 of the Bears' first 28 points to surpass his previous season-high of eight.
With 16 turnovers in the first half, though, the Spartans were the own worst enemy, trailing 35-23 at the intermission.
The Bears opened their lead up to as much as 20 early in the second half, although UNCG made a couple of runs to try get back into it. Two Ben Stywall free throws cut the margin to 14, 52-38, with 9:34 to play. But a quick 7-0 spurt, capped off by Dewan Clayborn's three-pointer, gave UCA a 21-point lead with 7:52 to play.
Just went it looked like UCA had the game put away, eight points by Koivisto sparked a 12-2 run that got UNCG back to within 61-50 with just under six minutes to play. But the Spartans couldn't quite get over the hump from there.
CENTRAL ARKANSAS 73, UNCG 60
Mikko Koivisto 7-12 6-7 24; Montel Smith 5-10 1-2 11; Ben Stywall 3-4 3-7 9; Kendall Toney 3-8 0-0 8; Damian Eargle 2-9 0-1 4; Pete Brown 1-4 1-3 3; Elhanan Bone 0-1 1-4 1; Deangelo Jackson 0-1 0-0 0; Sean Spooner 0-0 0-0 0; Landon Clement 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 21-52 12-24 60.
CENTRAL ARKANSAS (2-1)
Mike Pouncy 11-14 3-5 26; Mitch Rueter 3-5 1-1 8; Marcus Pillow 3-14 0-0 7; Dewan Clayborn 2-7 1-3 6; Chris Brown 3-6 0-0 6; Chris Henson 1-2 2-2 5; Landrell Brewer 2-2 0-0 4; Brian Marks 2-4 0-0 4; King Cannon 1-2 1-1 3; Imad Qahwash 1-2 0-0 2; Andrew Silverman 0-1 2-2 2. Totals 29-59 10-14 73.
Halftime: Central Arkansas 35-23. 3-point goals--UNCG 6-16 (Mikko Koivisto 4-8; Kendall Toney 2-6; Landon Clement 0-2), Central Arkansas 5-22 (Marcus Pillow 1-9; Chris Henson 1-1; Mitch Rueter 1-2; Dewan Clayborn 1-5; Mike Pouncy 1-3; Andrew Silverman 0-1; King Cannon 0-1). Fouled out--UNCG-None, Central Arkansas-None. Rebounds--UNCG 38 (Damian Eargle 9), Central Arkansas 34 (Chris Brown 7; Brian Marks 7). Assists--UNCG 8 (Montel Smith 3; Mikko Koivisto 3), Central Arkansas 15 (Marcus Pillow 4). Total fouls--UNCG 17, Central Arkansas 22. Technical fouls--UNCG-None, Central Arkansas-None. A-1227
FREE THROWS: UNCG was without the services of sophomore guard Daniel Oliver on Saturday night. Oliver was excused from the trip early Friday to attend to a family matter in Orlando, leaving UNCG with nine scholarship players in uniform... In last Monday's win over Webber International, Ben Stywall became the 18th player in Spartan history record 400 career rebounds. He finished Saturday night's game with 412. Meanwhile, he is closing in on 500 career points, finishing Saturday's game with 475... Koivisto now has a three-pointer in 27 consecutive games. His 24 points were one shy of a career high.
- UNCG -