Cole’s career night lifts UNCG past The Citadel, 86-74
For video of coach Mike Dement's postgame comments, click here.
By Rob Daniels
GREENSBORO, N.C. – After Monday's 86-74 win over The Citadel, UNCG coach Mike Dement was quick to admit that his is not the most complete basketball team on this planet. The Spartans will be well served one day by bringing the defensive intensity to match production on the other end.
But if you're willing to limit the discussion to offense, these guys keep defining equilibrium. You want balance? Put an Italian tenor on one side of the scales and a defensive tackle on the other.
Or make it simple and just take the Spartans.
Sophomore forward Brian Cole scored 11 of his career-high 24 points in a 104-second blitz of the first half as UNCG (5-17, 5-8 Southern Conference) revealed another offensive gadget in a numerically comfortable win over the Bulldogs.
Cole, a versatile 6-foot-9 Georgian, became the seventh Spartan to get 23 or more in a game this season. Five players are now averaging 10.17 to 10.84 points a game, and none of them is Cole, who eclipsed his previous career high for a game with 2:24 left in the first half.
"When we have Brian hitting shots like he was tonight, it makes the game a whole lot easier," said Kyle Randall, who had 20 points of his own.
In a stretch of four first-half possessions, Cole put up more points than he had in all but one of his full games this season. And, yeah, it surprised him.
"Missed every shot in shoot-around today," he said.
He burned the Bulldog zone with a pair of 3-pointers from the left wing and one from the right. For good measure, he offered a turn-around jumper from the free-throw circle. It was the sort of shot that, under normal circumstances, might have induced concern from the bench. Not this time.
"I got in a rhythm," he said. "It felt good off my hand, and I was going to let it go."
Citadel coach Chuck Driesell said he couldn't find immediate fault with his team's defense, either. The shots were contested.
"I'd cover it the same way again," he said. "He made shots tonight and he kept on shooting."
Cole's effort put a cap on a first half in which UNCG went 18-for-31 from the floor with two turnovers. It was going to be hard to match that, and the home team couldn't. But when the Bulldogs struggled as well to start the second half, the Spartans were in good shape.
UNCG later scored on 10 consecutive possessions, going 8-for-8 from the floor, to build the lead to 17.
"Many of our runs this year have been when we were 11 or 12 or 13 down," Dement said. "Tonight, we were up eight and we had a run to get it to 17."
The results leave the club with some curious numbers. Aloysius Henry and Korey Van Dussen have put up 234 points on the season, Randall has 232 and Brandon Evans has 237. Trevis Simpson, the leader in points per game, has 206. All of them have hit for 26 or more in a game.
"They are a difficult opponent in that any of those guys might go for 33, as they have, or 28, as they have," Driesell said. "And now Cole goes for 24."
The Spartans, who topped the 85-point mark in only two of their first 57 Greensboro Coliseum appearances in program history before last week, have now done it twice in three games. Their average of 77.6 points per SoCon game is second in the league. The College of Charleston, which hosts UNCG on Saturday, leads at 79.1.
Randall had a breakout performance to complement Cole. The sophomore guard entered at 32.3-percent field-goal accuracy for the season, but went 8-for-10 in an aggressive, intelligent performance that stifled the Bulldogs' hopes for a trap-induced late comeback.
"When time is running out, you want to be smart, but you don't want to pass up open looks like that," he said, describing three drives to the goal down the stretch.
Simpson authored 15 for the Spartans, who shot 56 percent from the floor and got the 86 points while attempting only six free throws.
Now the task is holding back the other guy. The Citadel (9-16, 5-8) shot 45 percent on the night and had one stretch in which it scored on nine straight trips.
"When this (Spartan) team realizes it and starts to play defense, it's going to be really good," Dement said, "because the offense has shown it can be really good."
UNCG 86, The Citadel 74
THE CITADEL (9-16, 5-8 SoCon)
GROSELLE, Mike 7-10 6-7 20; URBANUS, Zach 7-14 0-0 16; DAHN, Austin 6-15 0-0 15; WELLS, Cameron 5-15 4-6 14; HOLSTON, Bo 2-4 3-4 7; STREETER, Bryan 1-3 0-0 2; EYKYN, Daniel 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 28-62 13-17 74.
UNCG (5-17, 5-7 SoCon)
COLE, Brian 10-16 0-0 24; RANDALL, Kyle 8-10 2-2 20; SIMPSON, Trevis 7-10 0-0 15; BRACKETT, Aaron 6-10 0-0 12; EVANS, Brandon 2-7 0-0 5; VAN DUSSEN, Korey 2-7 0-0 4; PARKER, Drew 2-2 0-0 4; HENRY, Aloysius 0-3 2-4 2; WILLIAMS, David 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 37-66 4-6 86.
The Citadel................... 36 38 - 74
UNCG.......................... 48 38 - 86
3-point goals--The Citadel 5-21 (DAHN, Austin 3-9; URBANUS, Zach 2-6; EYKYN, Daniel 0-1; WELLS, Cameron 0-5), UNCG 8-20 (COLE, Brian 4-6; RANDALL, Kyle 2-2; SIMPSON, Trevis 1-3; EVANS, Brandon 1-4; HENRY, Aloysius 0-1; WILLIAMS, David 0-1; VAN DUSSEN, Korey 0-3). Fouled out--The Citadel-None, UNCG-None. Rebounds--The Citadel 30 (DAHN, Austin 7), UNCG 32 (SIMPSON, Trevis 7; BRACKETT, Aaron 7). Assists--The Citadel 12 (WELLS, Cameron 7), UNCG 19 (PARKER, Drew 6). Total fouls--The Citadel 10, UNCG 15. Technical fouls—The Citadel-None, UNCG-None. A-2481
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