UNCG holds on to defeat Furman, 66-65, at SoCon Tournament
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - UNC Greensboro made 8 of 10 free throws in the final 37 seconds and held off a late charge to defeat Furman, 66-65, in first round action at the Southern Conference Men's Basketball Tournament on Friday at Bojangles Coliseum.
The game had a bizarre ending. The Spartans (8-22) led by three after Mikko Koivisto made one of two at the line with 5.2 seconds left. Furman's Amu Saaka drove the length of the floor and dunked the ball with 0.2 seconds left, apparently thinking that Furman trailed by only two after the free throw miss. UNCG in-bounded the ball and time expired.
The Spartans had four players score in double figures, led by Brandon Evans' 13 points. Koivisto, Brian Cole and Kyle Randall each had 11 points. Seven of Randall's points came in the decisive final five minutes.
UNCG's Ben Stywall was held to just five points, but had a game-high 12 rebounds.
Saaka had 14 points and seven rebounds for Furman (13-17). Brandon Sebirumbi and Justin Dehm each added 12 points.
Neither team shot the ball particularly well until late in the game. Furman wound up at 38.5 percent from the field (20-of-52) and UNCG shot 39.6 percent (19-of-48). UNCG made five of its last six from the field, while Furman made six of its last 10 to close out the game.
Two free throws by Randall gave UNCG a 62-55 lead with 28 seconds to go. Furman's Noah States was fouled and made two free throws to cut it back to five. Korey Van Dussen followed with two more free throws for UNCG to make it 64-57 with 20 seconds left.
But Dehm hit a long three-pointer to cut it to 64-60 five seconds later. Then, after Cole made one of two at the line, Saaka knocked down a three-pointer to cut it to 65-63 with seven seconds left.
Koivisto made the first free throw and missed the second to make it a three-point game. Saaka then drove the length of the floor and dunked the ball, but only two-tenths of a second remained and UNCG had secured the win.
The Spartans, the No. 4 seed in the North Division, will face Wofford, the No. 1 seed from the South Division, on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. in a quarterfinal round match-up.
It was a defensive struggle right from the outset. The Spartans held Furman to just one field goal in the first eight minutes of the game. But UNCG wasn't getting a whole lot going either and couldn't open up a lead of more than four in the early going.
Late in the half, however, the Spartans opened things up, going on a 12-0 run to break a 14-14 tie. Korey Van Dussen's conventional three-point play with 5:10 left before half gave UNCG a six-point advantage, 20-14. Brandon Evans followed 30 seconds later with a three-pointer from the right wing and UNCG had a nine-point lead.
But after extending the lead to 26-14, the Spartans had just one field goal over the final 3:45 of the half. Furman cut the Spartan lead to 28-22 at the half, closing the half out with back-to-back buckets by Noah States.
The Spartans slowly stretched the lead back to 10 in the second half, holding Furman without a basket for more than five minutes. Ben Stywall's layup off a nice feed by Kyle Randall made it 37-27 with 13:36 to play. But then the Spartans went dry, scoring just one field goal over a five-minute span, and Furman came roaring back. Bryson Barnes' three-pointer cut the margin to one, 41-40, with 8:36 to play.
The UNCG lead was two when Randall stole the ball near midcourt and went in for a conventional three-point play with 4:57 remaining. Darrius Sellers followed with two more free throws on the next possession and the Spartans were back up by seven, 49-42.
The teams had split their regular season meetings this season. It was the first time in three tries that UNCG had defeated Furman in conference tournament play.
UNCG 66, FURMAN 65
Amu Saaka 5-15 2-5 14; Justin Dehm 4-10 1-2 12; Brandon Sebirumbi 2-4 8-10 12; Darryl Evans 3-5 0-1 7; Noah States 2-3 3-4 7; Bryson Barnes 2-6 1-2 6; Colin Reddick 1-2 2-2 4; Jordan Miller 1-6 1-1 3; Chris Toler 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 20-52 18-27 65.
Brandon Evans 2-9 8-11 13; Brian Cole 4-5 2-4 11; Kyle Randall 2-9 6-7 11; Mikko Koivisto 4-7 1-2 11; Ben Stywall 2-8 1-2 5; Korey Van Dussen 1-3 3-3 5; Darrius Sellers 1-1 2-4 4; Kendall Toney 2-3 0-0 4; Pete Brown 1-3 0-0 2; Montel Smith 0-0 0-0 0; Elhanan Bone 0-0 0-0 0; Deangelo Jackson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-48 23-33 66.
Halftime: UNCG 28-22. 3-point goals--Furman 7-24 (Justin Dehm
3-5; Amu Saaka 2-8; Darryl Evans 1-3; Bryson Barnes 1-2; Jordan
Miller 0-5; Noah States 0-1), UNCG 5-12 (Mikko Koivisto 2-4;
Brandon Evans 1-3; Kyle Randall 1-3; Brian Cole 1-1; Kendall Toney
0-1). Fouled out--Furman-Jordan Miller, UNCG-Pete Brown.
Rebounds--Furman 36 (Amu Saaka 7; Bryson Barnes 7), UNCG 33 (Ben
Stywall 12). Assists--Furman 9 (Bryson Barnes 3), UNCG 8 (Kyle
Randall 3; Mikko
Koivisto 3). Total fouls--Furman 28, UNCG 28. Technical fouls--Furman-None, UNCG-None. A-4023
FREE THROWS: Stywall now has 951 rebounds for his career... Koivisto now has a three-pointer in 13 consecutive games... Prior to the final 37 seconds, UNCG had been just 15-of-23 at the line for the day... the teams combined for 56 fouls - 28 on each side... Furman had a slight edge on the glass, outrebounding UNCG, 36-33.
- UNCG -