Men's Basketball Rolls Over Furman, 88-65
GREENVILLE, S.C. – The UNCG men's basketball team scored a season-high 88 points Thursday night as the Spartans notched an 88-65 victory over Southern Conference foe Furman at Timmons Arena. The victory was the first road win of the season for the Spartans and avenged their loss earlier this year to the Paladins.
"Tonight, we obviously shot the ball well, but more importantly we did a much better job cutting off their middle drive this time than earlier in the season," head coach Wes Miller said. "Last time they spread the floor on us and drove but tonight we were the more aggressive team dictating the game with our defense."
UNCG (7-15, 5-6 SoCon) connected on 60 percent (36-of-60) from the field and 60 percent (9-of-15) from three-point land in the victory. The Spartans out-rebounded Furman 42-29 in the victory while also dishing out 19 assists. UNCG held the Paladins to just 35.6 percent (21-of-59) shooting from the field and only 14.3 percent (3-of-21) from long distance on the night.
"Tonight we ran and got out in transition," Miller said. "We preach running all the time and tonight we not only go out on the break, but converted all of those chances for easy points. That is the kind of team we need because when we are converting like we did tonight, we are a really good team."
Eight different Spartans scored in the victory, including four in double figures led by junior Trevis Simpson (Douglas, Ga./Coffee) who scored 29 points in 29 minutes of action. Simpson connected on 10-of-18 from the field, 3-of-6 from three-point land and was a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line. He also grabbed four rebounds, dished out three assists and notched two steals.
Senior guard Derrell Armstrong (Mechanicsville, Md./Allegany CC), sophomore Nicholas Paulos (Salt Lake City, Utah/New Hampton School) and freshman Kayel Locke (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh) all added 11 points apiece in the victory.
The Spartans came out of the gate quickly as it opened to a 9-4 start as Armstrong scored five early points and Locke added four points. Furman slowed the momentum as it pulled within one at 9-8 as Colin Reddick scored in the paint.
UNCG took control of the game with a 15-7 run to take a 24-15 lead as Paulos scored eight points in a 2:34 stretch. Paulos posted a steal at half court for a break away basket before hitting back-to-back three-pointers.
After the Paladins slowed the run with a couple of Reddick baskets to make it 27-18, the Spartans broke the game open with a 21-8 run to close the half as they entered the locker room with a 48-26 lead. Freshman Jordan Potts (Columbus, Ohio/Northland) ignited the run as he scored five straight points before Locke scored back-to-back baskets. Simpson added eight points in the run, with consecutive three-pointers in a 33 second span in the final minute.
UNCG connected on 60.6 percent (20-of-33) from the field and hit a staggering 66.7 percent (8-of-12) from three-point land. The Spartans also out-rebounded the Paladins 18-14 in the half an only committed four turnovers while handing out nine assists. Simpson and Paulos led the attack with 11 points each while Locke added eight points and Potts chipped in seven points.
Furman connected on just 35.7 percent (10-of-28) from the field and only 11.1 percent (1-of-9) from three-point land. Larry Wideman scored a team-high nine points off the bench while Reddick added eight points and five rebounds.
The Spartans extended their lead to 58-31 just under five minutes into the second half as they opened on a 10-5 run. Simpson scored four points in the run while Locke nailed a three-pointer in transition. Furman finally posted a solid stretch together as it turned in a 14-4 run to force UNCG into a timeout with a 62-45 lead. Charlie Reddick scored five points in the run while his brother Colin added four points.
UNCG answered right back with a quick 9-1 burst to extend the lead to 71-46. Simpson took control at that point scoring seven points in the run, including an old-fashioned three-point play. The Spartans coasted to the victory the rest of the way maintaining at least a 20-point cushion for most of the second half.
Potts finished the game with a career-high nine points as he was 4-of-5 shooting from the field in 24 minutes of action. Junior David Williams (Jacksonville, Fla./First Coast) added nine points and eight rebounds as he was 4-of-7 from the field in 35 minutes of action.
Furman was led by Wideman with 18 points off the bench as he was 5-of-9 from the field and 6-of-9 from the free throw line. Stephen Croone added 13 points while Colin Reddick chipped in 12 points and nine rebounds.
The Spartans conclude their three-game road swing through the Palmetto State Saturday as they travel to Spartanburg for their second meeting of the season against Wofford. Game time is set for 7 p.m.
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