Armstrong’s late basket lifts UNCG over Chattanooga, 77-76
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.–Derrell Armstrong's layup with 16 seconds remaining lifted UNCG to a 77-76 win over Chattanooga in a Southern Conference game on Saturday at McKenzie Arena.
The win gives the Spartans (11-15 overall, 9-5 SoCon) a one-game lead over Elon in the North Division with four games remaining.
After squandering a 10-point lead early in the second half, the Spartans played the final five minutes of the game in pursuit of the Mocs (10-17, 4-10). Trailing 58-50 with 10:31 left, Chattanooga used a 14-5 run and took a 64-63 lead on a Drazen Zlovaric jumper with 5:03 to play.
The Mocs gained as much as a four-point lead but couldn't get any farther ahead. With Chattanooga leading 74-70, UNCG started its comeback when Trevis Simpson drained a deep three-pointer with 1:29 to go to pull UNCG within 74-73.
Zlovaric collected an offensive rebound and scored on the other end to give Chattanooga a 76-73 lead with 1:01 to go, but Aloysius Henry converted a pair of free throws for UNCG to make it 76-75 with 54 second to go.
On their ensuing possession, the Mocs ran the clock down and Omar Wattad missed a heavily contested three-pointer from the left wing. Armstrong grabbed the rebound and raced the length of the floor and scored in traffic from the left side for a 77-76 lead.
Chattanooga still had a chance. After Ricky Taylor air-balled a jumper, the Mocs got the rebound and Keegan Bell's three-pointer with two seconds left was blocked by David Williams, sealing the win for the Spartans.
Chattanooga appeared to be on its way to a runaway victory in the first half, leading by as many as 11 points two different times. But the Spartans clawed their way back into the game behind Simpson and Kyle Randall, who combined to score 21 points in the half.
Down 22-11 with 9:19 left before halftime, UNCG used a 17-4 run and took a 28-26 lead on a three-point play by Randall with 4:34 left. UNCG held on for a 38-37 lead at the half.
Simpson finished 11-of-24 from the field, including 5-of-10 from 3-point range. He was only 1-of-5 from the line, but made up for it by scoring 18 points in the second half, many coming on a variety of challenging shots and deep three-pointers.
Randall scored all 11 of his points in the first half, going 4-of-7 from the field with a pair of three-pointers. Armstrong finished with 10 points, his lowest scoring performance in 10 games. But the junior guard was perfect on six free throw attempts, and added five rebounds and four assists.
Henry, who made four free throws in the final two minutes of the game, continued his recent surge with nine points while grabbing seven rebounds. Drew Parker scored nine points and dished five assists.
Zlovaric led Chattanooga with 22 points, while Jahmal Burroughs had 10 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
The Spartans shot 42 percent for the game, including 45 percent in the first half. UNCG was 12-of-25 from 3-point range and 15-of-20 from the free throw line.
Chattanooga out-rebounded the Spartans, 43-35, due in large part to 38 percent shooting. The Mocs were just 4-of-23 from 3-point range which was offset somewhat by a 24-of-30 effort from the free throw line.
The Spartans return to action when they host College of Charleston, 7 p.m., Wednesday at Greensboro Coliseum.