Men's Basketball Falls At UNCW, 87-73
WILMINGTON, N.C. – The UNCG men's basketball team fell behind by 21 points at halftime and couldn't overcome the deficit as the Spartans dropped an 87-73 decision to non-conference foe UNCW Wednesday night at Trask Coliseum. The loss snaps the Spartans' three-game winning streak against the Seahawks in the all-time series.
The Spartans (2-7) shot just 36.8 percent (25-of-68) from the field and only hit 20 percent (4-of-20) from three-point land in the loss. UNCG also shot just 59.4 percent (19-of-32) from the free throw line while being out-rebounded by a 48-37 margin. UNCW connected on 50.8 percent (30-of-59) from the field and 56.3 percent (9-of-16) from long range in the victory.
Junior Trevis Simpson (Douglas, Ga./Coffee) led the Spartans with 19 points, 16 of which came in the second half, as he was 7-of-15 from the field and 4-of-5 from the free throw line. Senior guard Derrell Armstrong (Mechanicsville, Md./Allegany) returned from a one-game suspension and posted his first career double-double in the loss. Armstrong scored 18 points and grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds off the bench as he was 8-of-15 from the field.
UNCW (5-6) was led by Keith Rendleman who also posted a double-double, scoring a game-high 23 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Craig Ponder added 19 points while Freddie Jackson notched 14 points in the balanced attack for the Seahawks.
After Simpson opened the game with a three-pointer, UNCW scored the next 12 points to take an early 12-3 lead. Craig Ponder started things with two early three-pointers as he was hitting from the outside from the start of the game.
The Spartans pulled within four points at 16-12 at the 12:46 mark as freshman Kayel Locke (Owings Mill, Md./McDonogh) scored five straight points. The Seahawks responded with a 13-2 run to break the game open at 29-14 as they continued to hit from beyond the arc as Ponder and Tyree Graham nailed long range shots. UNCW kept its offense going as it took a 49-28 lead into the locker room.
The Seahawks connected on 54.3 percent (19-of-35) from the field and hit 7-of-11 (63.6%) from three-point land in the first half. Ponder, who entered the game with five made three-pointers on the year, hit 5-of-6 from long range in the first half to lead the way with 15 points.
UNCG conversely hit just 29.4 percent (10-of-34) from the field and 37.5 percent (3-of-8) from long range. Locke led the Spartans with seven points while senior guard Korey Van Dussen (Zeeland, Mich./Zeeland East) added six points.
The Spartans came out of the halftime break and posted a quick 10-4 run to force UNCW into an early timeout less than four minutes into the second session. Simpson scored all 10 points for the Spartans in the run as he was 4-of-5 from the field and hit 2-of-3 from the charity stripe during the spurt.
The Seahawks weathered the storm and slowed the pace as they were able to keep the Spartans at bay. Each time UNCG trimmed the lead down to 14 points, the Seahawks answered back with a small burst to extend the lead back to 20 points throughout the second half.
The Spartans out-scored UNCW 45-38 in the second half but were unable to overcome the 21-point halftime deficit. Locke added 12 points off the bench as he was 10-of-12 from the free throw line as the two teams combined to shoot 63 free throws. Van Dussen finished with eight points while sophomore Nicholas Paulos (Salt Lake City, Utah/New Hampton School) also chipped in eight points.
The Spartans return home to the Greensboro Coliseum Saturday afternoon as they host Atlantic Coast Conference member Wake Forest. Game time is set for 2:30 p.m. and will be the second game of a women's/men's doubleheader with women's basketball hosting Florida State at noon.
- UNCG -