Spartans Complete 69-65 Overtime Victory Against Bulldogs
UNCG rallied from a 14-point second half deficit, tying the game on a layup by Kayel Locke with two seconds remaining, and the Spartans went on to post a 69-65 overtime victory against The Citadel on Thursday night at the Greensboro Coliseum.
With the Bulldogs (4-15, 0-4 SoCon) leading 59-57 in regulation, Locke corralled a missed jumper by Kyle Cain and laid it off glass to tie the game. Matt Van Scyoc had an opportunity to win the game at the buzzer for the Bulldogs, but his 3-point shot hit off the front of the rim.
A 3-point shot by Nicolas Paulos gave UNCG (10-9, 3-1) a 63-61 advantage less than one minute into the overtime session. The combination of solid defense, which limited The Citadel to one shot on each of its next two possessions, along with conversions by Jordan Potts and Cain gave the Spartans a five-point advantage with 3:41 left.
Van Scyoc quickly drew the Bulldogs back within striking distance, 66-64, knocking down his fourth 3-pointer on a pass from Ashton Moore.
Locke snapped a 2:17 scoring drought for both teams with a turnaround jumper in the paint, forging UNCG in front by four. That proved to be the decisive margin as the Spartans earned their sixth straight victory in the series.
Locke finished with 21 points on 7-of-15 shooting from the floor to earn high marks for the Spartans. He was also a key figure on the boards with eight rebounds (four offensive).
Cain notched his fifth double-double of the season for UNCG with 20 points and a game-high 16 rebounds (12 defensive). He anchored a Spartans lineup that finished with a 45-34 edge on the glass.
UNCG struggled offensively throughout the contest, hitting just 24-of-66 (36.4%) from the floor and 5-of-17 (29.4%) from beyond the arc. Despite shooting 69 percent free throw shooting entering the contest, the Spartans managed just 16-of-26 (61.5%) at the line.
The Citadel finished with three players in double figures led by Moore (21 points), Van Scyoc (16) and Quinton Marshall (13). Moore converted 6-of-14 from the floor including 5-of-10 from 3-point range en route to the sixth 20-point contest of his career.
Van Scyoc continued to knock down the long distance shot, hitting 4-of-11 from 3-point range, while tying a career-high in rebounds (11) set earlier this season against VMI. The double-double marks the second of the sophomore's career.
As a unit The Citadel finished 23-of-55 (41.8%) from the field and 10-of-28 (35.7%) from 3-point range. That marks the fourth time this season that the Cadets have hit at least 10 treys in a contest.
The combination of an 11-point lead at the intermission and a 7-4 run within the first 1:23 of the second half, capped off by an Ashton Moore 3-pointer, gave The Citadel its largest advantage, 38-24.
Led by Locke's eight points the Spartans put together a 12-5 that made for a 43-40 contest at the 12:31 mark.
The Citadel answered with a jumper from Tom Koopman and a trey by Moore to stretch the lead back to eight with just under 10 minutes of the second half.
Four straight points by Tevon Saddler, including a layup in transition following a steal by Drew Parker, sparked an 8-0 run for UNCG who eventually drew even at 48-48 with 4:57 remaining.
The Citadel set the tone early by knocking down its first straight field goal attempts, including 3-pointers by Moore and Van Scyoc, as it moved in front 12-2 in just under three minutes of play.
UNCG eventually cut the lead to five, 14-9, but it was 3-pointers by Van Scyoc and Moore that again provided the Bulldogs with a double-digit advantage following a 6-1 run.
The Spartans answered with a 5-2 run over the next 4:10 of the contest to trim the deficit to 22-15. The Bulldogs countered by scoring nine of the next points, including dunks by Marshall and Warren Sledge as they took a 31-20 lead at the intermission.
The 20 first half points by the Spartans mark the fewest by a Bulldog opponent since Furman scored 22 on Feb. 28, 2013.
The Bulldogs open up the first game of a three-game homestand on Saturday evening when they host Upstate rival Furman at 7:05 p.m.