Spartans open two-game road trip at Samford on Thursday
Complete Game Notes
About Tonight's Game
The Spartans open a two-game SoCon road trip when they visit Samford on Thursday ... UNCG will be looking to bounce back after Furman snapped the Spartans' 7-game winning streak on Saturday ... the game is key for both teams as the second-place Spartans lead third-place Samford by one game in the North division ... a win tonight also gives UNCG double-digit victories for the first time since the 2007-08 squad won 19 games.
About the Series
Samford leads the all-time series 6-3, with the Bulldogs holding a 4-3 edge since Samford joined the Southern Conference prior to the 2008-09 season. The Spartans edged Samford 61-60 in the teams' meeting last month in Greensboro. The teams split their two meetings last year, with each winning on the other's home court. UNCG downed the Bulldogs 91-72 in Birmingham, Ala., on Jan. 29, 2011. UNCG, in fact, has won its last two games on Samford's home floor.
Dement Steps Aside as Men's Basketball Coach; Miller Named as Interim
UNCG men's basketball head coach Mike Dement and Director of Athletics Kim Record on Dec. 13 reached a mutual agreement that Dement will no longer serve as head coach, effective immediately. A national search for a permanent men's basketball coach will be conducted.
Assistant coach Wes Miller was named as interim head coach for the remainder of the season.
"In the interests of the long-term health of the men's basketball program, Mike and I have agreed that a change is necessary in order for the program to move forward," said Record. "Coach Dement has been professional, ethical and committed to leading our efforts to enhance men's basketball with the program's move to the Greensboro Coliseum and the nonconference scheduling philosophy put in place over the last three seasons. We thank him for his contributions to UNCG's basketball program."
Dement was in the seventh season of his second tenure as head coach of the Spartans. He returned to UNCG on April 9, 2005, after previously serving as head coach from 1991-95. In 11 total seasons as UNCG's head coach, Dement posted a 124-181 record. The 124 victories are a school record for men's basketball.
UNCG's first men's basketball head coach in the school's Division I era, Dement coached the Spartans to a Big South Conference championship and a school-record 23 wins during the 1994-95 season before leaving to take a head coaching position at SMU. Dement is 329-368 in 25 seasons as a collegiate head coach.
Miller, 28, is in his second season on staff with the Spartans. He has previous Division I coaching experience as an assistant at both Elon and High Point. A native of Charlotte, Miller lettered three seasons at North Carolina, helping the Tar Heels to the 2005 national championship. He graduated from UNC in 2007 with a degree in political science.
America's Youngest Head Coach
With his promotion to interim head coach Wes Miller is the youngest Division I head coach in the country:
Coach Birthdate Age
Wes Miller, UNCG Jan. 28, 1983 28
Andy Toole, Robert Morris Sept. 11, 1980 31
Jason Capel, Appalachian State Jan. 15, 1980 32
Brian Wardle, Wisconsin-Green Bay Oct. 9, 1979 32
Archie Miller, Dayton Oct. 30, 1978 33
The Spartans saw their seven-game winning streak come to an end on the road ... UNCG shot 53 percent in the second half, but couldn't overcome a 9-point halftime deficit ... senior center Aloysius Henry matched his season high by scoring 13 points for the second consecutive game ... junior guard Derrell Armstrong made a career-high 11 free throws on a career-high 12 attempts ... the game was UNCG first away from Greensboro in three weeks ... the 93 points allowed were the most since surrendering 99 at Miami on Jan. 2 ... sophomore guard Trevis Simpson scored a game-high 28 points, his fourth straight game with at least 20 points.
We're Going Streaking...!!!
Furman snapped the longest UNCG winning streak in 16 years on Saturday. UNCG has won its last seven games before the Paladins handed the Spartans a 93-85 setback. The Spartans enjoyed dramatic, last-second victories over The Citadel (67-66) and Samford (61-60), overtime wins against Appalachian State (77-74) and Western Carolina (89-86), as well as relative routs against College of Charleston (73-66), Chattanooga (81-72) and The Citadel (82-71).
The longest winning streaks in program history:
Games Season Misc.
11 1986-87 Finished 22-6; Division III
9 1987-88 Finished 19-8; Division III
8 1995-96 Finished 20-10; Big South Champions; NCAA Tournament
7 1979-80 Finished 16-12; Division III
7 1994-95 Finished 23-6; Big South Regular season champions
7 2011-12 Snapped last Saturday Furman
6 1980-81 Finished 17-8; Division III
6 1982-83 Finished 16-9; Division III
6 1985-86 Finished 13-14; Division III
6 2000-01 Finished 19-12; SoCon Tournament Champs; NCAA Tournament
Simpson Stepping Up
With the loss of leading scorer Brandon Evans to graduation, sophomore swingman Trevis Simpson has assumed the role of top scorer for the Spartans in 2011-12. Currently leading the SoCon in scoring at 17.4 points per game, Simpson has scored at least 10 points in 21 of UNCG's 24 games this season, and has scored 20 or more points in four straight games entering Thursday's contest at Samford.
Simpson helped UNCG to the SoCon's biggest upset this season earlier this month, scoring 16 points and grabbing five rebounds in a 73-66 win at College of Charleston. He went one better two nights later at The Citadel, helping UNCG to a road sweep with a game-winning alley-oop dunk in the final second.
In conference play Simpson is averaging 18.9 points per game.
Armstrong Named SoCon Player of the Week... Again
After waiting nearly four years for a SoCon player of the week, UNCG now has a weekly honoree in consecutive weeks.
UNCG's Derrell Armstrong has been named the Southern Conference Player of the Week for all games played January 24-30 the league office announced Tuesday. It is the second consecutive week Armstrong has won the award. The junior guard averaged 25 points, seven rebounds and three assists in two games last week as the Spartans picked up overtime wins over Appalachian State (77-73) and Western Carolina (89-86).
Armstrong scored 50 points in two games off the bench for the Spartans last week. He tallied a game-high 27 points in UNCG's win over Appalachian State on Thursday night. Armstrong scored 19 points in the second half and overtime against the Mountaineers and was 10-of-20 from the field.
The Mechanicsville, Md., native posted 21 of his 23 points in the second half and overtime against the Catamounts. The junior scored 12 of UNCG's 20 points in the extra frame. Armstrong added six rebounds, four assists, three seals and a blocked shot against WCU.
Junior guard Derrell Armstrong is enjoying perhaps the best three weeks of his basketball life last week, helping UNCG to five straight home wins and earning a pair of SoCon player of the week awards in the process.
Since a Jan. 12 win at College of Charleston, Armstrong is averaging 21 points and 5.6 rebounds per game, all in a reserve role. In addition to his scoring and rebounding, Armstrong has developed into UNCG's most reliable three-point threat, shooting 46 percent from beyond the arc in the last eight games.
Armstrong was already UNCG's top offensive threat off the bench, but his recent play has lifted his scoring average into double-figures (12.0), while he is now averaging 16.5 points in SoCon play.
UNCG has been desperately seeking a scoring post presence this season, and if the previous two games are any indication the Spartans may have found their man.
Senior center Aloysius Henry came alive last week in games against Citadel and Furman, averaging 13 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.0 blocks. Henry shot 77 percent (10-13) from the field and 86 percent (6-7) from the free throw line.
Simpson Makes ESPN Top Plays
In addition to nearly setting a school record for points in a game, Trevis Simpson also put on a dunking exhibition during UNCG's loss at Miami. One of his dunks, a reverse alley-oop off a pass from Derrell Armstrong, made the No. 6 spot on ESPN's Top Plays the next day.
The dunk also caused about a 10-minute delay as the tech crew at BankUnited Arena had to replace a bolt which was knocked loose by the alley-oop.
Parker Packing a Long-Range Punch
Sophomore guard Drew Parker isn't exactly the first name that comes to mind when pondering UNCG's top three-point shooters. After all, he shot just 30 percent from beyond the arc as a freshman. But as he enters Thursday's game with Appalachian State, Parker finds himself atop the SoCon leader board in three-point percentage at .500 (32-64).
Parker has also settled in to UNCG's starting lineup. Playing as the point guard Parker has started the last 18 games, and recorded a career-high 10 assists in UNCG's loss at Miami.
Spartans Picked Fourth in SoCon North
UNCG men's basketball team has been picked to finish fourth in the Southern Conference North Division in 2011-12 according to a vote by league head coaches, the conference office announced in October.
Chattanooga and Davidson are the favorites to capture the Southern Conference's divisional men's basketball titles in 2011-12. Appalachian State senior guard Omar Carter was also named the SoCon Preseason Player of the Year as part of the preseason all-conference team. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team or student-athletes as part of the balloting.
Dement begins the seventh season of his second tenure at UNCG and his 12th season overall with the Spartans looking to build upon last season's strong finish. After opening the year with a 0-15 mark, a team consisting of 11 first-and-second year players closed by winning seven of their final 16 games. The Spartans also won their opening game at the Southern Conference tournament before falling in the quarterfinals.
Another Tough Schedule
An appearance in the Maui Invitational, home games with East Carolina and 2011 Final Four participant VCU, and road games at Duke, Florida State and Miami (Fla.) highlight UNCG's 2011-12 men's basketball schedule.
In all, the Spartans are slated to play 30 regular season contests including 12 home games, all at Greensboro Coliseum. In addition to a full schedule of Southern Conference games, UNCG will square off against cross-town rival North Carolina A&T in late November at the Coliseum.
Spartans on TV
UNCG men's basketball will make seven appearances on national and regional television outlets during the 2011-12 season.
The Spartans will appear four times on Fox Sports South, beginning with the season opener at Tennessee on Nov. 11. Other FSN South appearances include games at Florida State (Dec. 11), at Duke (Dec. 19) and at Miami, Fla. (Jan. 2).
UNCG's game at Georgetown on Nov. 14 will appear on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), which serves seven states from Pennsylvania to North Carolina. MASN is available locally in the Piedmont Triad on DirecTV Ch. 640.
The Spartans' home game with 2011 Final Four participant VCU on Dec. 22 will be shown on ESPN3, while a Feb. 4 contest at Furman is part of the SoCon Sports Network's season-long television package. The SoCon Sports Network consists of CSS, UNC-TV and ESPN3.
Spartans on the Radio
UNCG men's basketball games will once again be broadcast on the Triad Sports Network for the 2011-12 season. Owned by Curtis Media Group, the Triad Sports Network is a trio of AM stations providing all sports programming with ESPN radio affiliation. UNCG will be utilizing 1320 WCOG-AM as its flagship station for the broadcasts. Additional coverage will be provided on a game-by-game availability through 1200 WSML-AM and 1230 WMFR-AM.
WSML-AM's signal is based out of Graham, N.C., while WMFR-AM is based out of High Point. WZTK-FM, Curtis' FM-talk station, has a 100,000-watt signal that broadcasts nearly statewide and into parts of Virginia and Tennessee.
Scott Pryzwansky will once again handle play-by-play duties.
About the Southern Conference
The Southern Conference, which began its 91st season of intercollegiate competition in 2011, is a national leader in emphasizing the development of the student-athlete and in helping to build lifelong leaders and role models.
The Southern Conference has been on the forefront of innovation and originality in developing creative solutions to address issues facing intercollegiate athletics. From establishing the first conference basketball tournament (1921), tackling the issue of freshmen eligibility (1922), developing women's championships (1984), to becoming the first conference to install the three-point goal in basketball (1980), the Southern Conference has been a pioneer.
The Southern Conference is the nation's fifth-oldest NCAA Division I collegiate athletic association. Only the Big Ten (1896), the Missouri Valley (1907), the Pacific 10 (1915) and the Southwestern Athletic (1920) conferences are older in terms of origination.
The Spartans open a two-game SoCon road trip at Samford, 8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 9 in Birmingham, Ala.