GREENSBORO, N.C. - The UNCG men's basketball team posted a game-changing 30-6 second half run to lead the Spartans to a 81-65 victory over Winston-Salem State in the 2012-13 home opener Monday night at the Greensboro Coliseum in front of 4,123 fans.
"Obviously, our first game against High Point was uncharacteristic of our team as we weren't the team that we work on being in practice every day," Miller said. "I give my guys a lot of credit for working hard the past two days in practice and tonight I saw us take steps in doing the things we talk about every day. We ran the floor better and made efforts to rebound the ball on the defensive glass. We are, by no means, where we want to be as a team, but we are making positive steps each day."
Junior Trevis Simpson (Douglas, Ga./Coffee) and senior Derrell Armstrong (Mechanicsville, Md./Allegany) combined to score 47 points in 48 minutes of action to pace the offensive attack.
Simpson scored a season-high 26 points as he was 10-of-16 from the field, including four three-pointers. Armstrong added 21 points off the bench on 9-of-11 shooting as he hit 3-of-4 from long range.
The Spartans (1-1) connected on 49.2 percent (31-of-63) from the field and 34.6 percent (9-of-26) from long range in the victory. UNCG limited the Rams to just 37.9 percent (25-of-66) shooting in the game, including just 33.3 percent (11-of-33) in the second half when it out-scored WSSU by a 42-33 margin.
The Spartans came out of the gate quickly as they scored the first five points of the game as Simpson notched the first basket of the 2012-13 season in the Greensboro Coliseum with an alley-oop dunk just 17 seconds into the game. Junior Drew Parker (Houston, Texas/La Porte) made it a 5-0 lead just seconds later hitting a three-pointer in transition.
The teams battled back-and-forth at a fast pace for much of the first half until WSSU narrowed the gap to 32-30 on a Jon Thompson jumper with 2:22 left in the half. The Spartans responded by closing the half on a 7-2 run to take a 39-32 lead into the locker room. Sophomore Nicholas Paulos (Salt Lake City, Utah/New Hampton School) sparked the run with a tip-in off of a missed free throw to give the Spartans an extra possession.
The Spartans connected on 50 percent (15-of-30) from the field, but hit just 28.6 percent (4-of-14) from long range in the first half. Simpson led all scorers with 14 points in 13 minutes of action as he was 5-of-9 from the field, including a pair of three-pointers. Armstrong added nine points in 11 minutes off the bench as he was 4-of-4 from the field in the half.
Winston-Salem State connected on 42.4 (14-of-33) from the field and hit just two three-pointers but only committed six turnovers in the half. Justin Glover led the Rams with 10 points on 4-of-13 shooting while Stephon Platt chipped in seven points.
The Rams opened the second half and took a 48-45 lead with a 16-6 run that made the partisan-UNCG crowd unsettled. Winston-Salem State was led in the early run by Platt who scored six points in the spurt, while WyKevin Bazemore added four points while giving the Rams their first lead.
UNCG responded in emphatic fashion as it posted a 30-6 run, including 18 straight points to finish the spurt taking a three-point deficit and turning it into a 20-point lead. Armstrong was the catalyst in the beginning of the run as he scored 10 straight points for the Spartans on his way to 12 points total in the 9:36 stretch of the second half.
After Armstrong sparked the run, Simpson took over and scored 10 points of his own, including a pair of three-pointers in transition that sent the Greensboro Coliseum crowd into a frenzy. Junior Taylor Hoffer (Poulsbo, Wash./Kitsap) put the cap on the run converting an old-fashioned three-point play to end any doubt in the victory with the Spartans' 18th straight unanswered point.
Freshman forward Kayel Locke (Owings Mill, Md./McDonogh) added seven points off the bench in a career-high 28 minutes of action as 11 different Spartans found their way into the box score. Parker ran the offense effectively as he dished out seven assists while only committing one turnover. Senior Korey Van Dussen (Zeeland, Mich./Zeeland East) added five assists as the Spartans dished out 17 helpers in the victory.
Winston-Salem State was led by Glover who scored 15 points on just 6-of-20 shooting, including 2-of-8 from three-point land. Platt added 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting for the Rams in their 2012-13 season opener.
The Spartans return to the road Friday night as they travel to Greenville, N.C., to take on the East Carolina Pirates at 7 p.m.
UNCG Sports Information Dept.