UNCG rally falls short to Western Carolina, 75-70
GREENSBORO, N.C. - Despite four Spartans scoring in double figures and several rallies by UNC Greensboro in the second half, Western Carolina had enough answers and held off UNCG, 75-70, in Southern Conference men's basketball action on Monday evening at the Greensboro Coliseum.
The Spartans fell to 5-20 on the year and 4-10 in Southern Conference action, while the Catamounts improved to 19-8, 9-6 in league play. The win kept the Catamounts in the race for the SoCon North Division title, moving to within 1-1/2 games of idle Appalachian State.
After trailing by 13 in the first half, UNCG caught fire and rallied to tie the game early in the second half. But it seemed like each time the Spartans put together a run, the Catamounts had an answer and were able to hold on for the victory and snap a three-game skid.
Freshman Kyle Randall led UNCG with a game-high 20 points and a career-high nine rebounds. Mikko Koivisto added 13 points and Kendall Toney added 11 in the losing effort. Ben Stywall also finished in double figures with 12 points and had a team-high nine boards to narrowly miss a double-double.
Randall overcame an awful first half that saw him shoot 1-for-7 from the floor. He was 6-of-11 in the second half, scoring 14 of his 16 points in the final 20 minutes.
Brandon Giles paced the Catamounts with 20 points and six boards and Richie Gordon added 11 points. Harouna Mutombo pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds, but was held to just eight points on 3-of-10 shooting from the field.
The Catamounts hit the offensive glass hard with 22 offensive rebounds, resulting in 10 more field goal attempts than UNCG. Western Carolina had 22 second-chance points on the night.
The Spartans overcame a 13-point first half lead by Western Carolina to tie the game early in the second half. The Spartans closed the gap to six at the intermission, 29-23, before an 11-5 UNCG run to start the half tied the game at 34 on back-to-back 3-pointers by Koivisto.
But every time UNCG made a run in the second half, the Catamounts seemed to have an answer. This answer was an 8-0 spurt over the next three minutes to stretch their lead back out to 42-34 with 15 minutes remaining.
UNCG made another run just five minutes later and pulled back to within 54-51 on a layup by Randall at the 10:45 mark. Western Carolina followed with another run of their own, this one an 11-2 spurt as the Catamounts went ahead, 65-53, with seven minutes remaining.
UNCG cut that back to five with 2:08 to play, 68-63, on a Ben Stywall bucket. Kendall Russell's conventional three-point play extended the lead back to eight. Russell was fouled with 1:08 to play and made one of two to make it 72-63.
Stywall's conventional three-point play cut it back to six and the Spartans found life. Mike Williams missed a pair of free throws with 57 seconds left, leaving the door open. Randall was fouled and hit both free throws to make it 72-68 with 42 seconds left.
But Giles made three of four from the line in the final 38 seconds to put the game out of reach and hand the Spartans their fourth straight loss. It was also the fourth-straight time Western Carolina has beaten the Spartans, giving it the second-straight season-series sweep.
UNCG hits the road for three straight, beginning with Wednesday's game at backyard-rival Elon. Game time is set for 7 p.m.
WESTERN CAROLINA 75, UNCG 70
WESTERN CAROLINA (19-8, 9-6)
Brandon Giles 7-16 3-4 20; Richie Gordon 3-6 5-7 11; Kendall Russell 3-6 3-5 9; Brigham Waginger 3-8 1-4 8; Harouna Mutombo 3-10 1-2 8; Jake Robinson 3-10 1-1 8; Adrian Gailliard 2-4 0-0 4; Mike Williams 2-8 0-2 4; Keaton Cole 1-1 0-0 3; Blake Gallagher 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 27-70 14-25 75.
UNCG (5-20, 4-10)
Kyle Randall 7-18 5-5 20; Mikko Koivisto 5-12 0-0 13; Ben Stywall 4-12 4-7 12; Kendall Toney 4-6 0-0 11; Brandon Evans 2-3 1-2 5; Pete Brown 2-5 1-2 5; Brian Cole 2-3 0-0 4; Deangelo Jackson 0-0 0-0 0; Korey Van Dussen 0-1 0-0 0; Darrius Sellers 0-0 0-2 0. Totals 26-60 11-18 70.
Halftime: Western Carolina 29-23. 3-point goals--Western Carolina 7-21 (Brandon Giles 3-6; Jake Robinson 1-5; Harouna Mutombo 1-3; Keaton Cole 1-1; Brigham Waginger 1-6), UNCG 7-17 (Kendall Toney 3-5; Mikko Koivisto 3-8; Kyle Randall 1-3; Brandon Evans 0-1). Fouled out--Western Carolina-None, UNCG-None. Rebounds--Western Carolina 45 (Harouna Mutombo 10), UNCG 43 (Kyle Randall 9; Ben Stywall 9). Assists--Western Carolina 15 (Brigham Waginger 5), UNCG 15 (Mikko Koivisto 4). Total fouls--Western Carolina 19, UNCG 24. Technical fouls-Western Carolina-None, UNCG-None. A-3194
FREE THROWS: The Spartans shot 56 percent in the second half (18-of-32) after a woeful start. UNCG opened the game 4-of-20 from the floor before hitting 4 of their final 8 to close out the half... UNCG's 47 points in the second half was the most the team had scored since January 9 when it had 48 in the opening half against Furman... Kendall Toney now has at least one three-pointer in 16 consecutive games... Koivisto went over the 1,100-point mark for his career... It was the first time this year the Spartans have lost when scoring 70 or more points. On the flip side, UNCG is 2-16 when allowing 70-plus points this season and 14-69 over the last five years when allowing 70 or more.
- UNCG -