Written by UNCG Sports Information Department:
CHARLESTON, S.C. - The UNCG men's basketball team suffered an 81-59 loss Saturday night to Southern Conference foe College of Charleston at the TD Arena. Freshman forward Kayel Locke (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh) scored a game-high 21 points in the loss while the Cougars placed five different players in double figures scoring.
"Tonight it came down to loose balls and rebounding," head coach Wes Miller said. "We were in it defensively in the first half. We would play great defense for the entire possession but then would lose a battle for a loose ball or a rebound and Charleston took advantage of every mistake we made."
Locke connected on 7-of-15 from the field and hit 6-of-7 from the free throw line but the Spartans as a whole shot just 32.7 percent (18-of-55) from the field. UNCG was uncharacteristically off from three-point land as well as it hit just 2-of-14 (14.3 percent) from distance on the night. Junior Trevis Simpson (Douglas, Ga./Coffee) added 15 points as he was a perfect 7-of-7 from the free throw line.
College of Charleston (16-7, 8-3 SoCon) conversely connected on 42.1 percent (24-of-57) from the field and 47.6 percent (10-of-21) from three-point land. The Cougars were led by Andrew Lawrence who scored 17 points and dished out six assists. Trent Wiedeman posted a double-double off the bench as he scored 14 points and grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds as CofC out-rebounded the Spartans 45-34.
College of Charleston came out of the gate quickly as it jumped out to a 17-7 lead. The Cougars were hitting from the outside in the first half as they extended their lead to a half-high 18 points at 37-19 with 3:08 left in the half. CofC connected on 6-of-11 (54.5%) from the field in the first half, including two from Andrew Lawrence who scored 11 points in the half. The Cougars also controlled the glass as they held a 23-15 advantage with six offensive rebounds while shooting 44.8 percent (13-of-29) from the field.
The Spartans scored the final five points of the first half to head into the locker room trailing 37-24. Locke scored 11 points in the opening half on 4-of-10 shooting and hit all three free throws he took. Simpson added seven points as the Spartans were limited to just 26.9 percent (7-of-26) shooting from the field and only 12.5 percent (1-of-8) from long range in the first half.
UNCG (6-15, 4-6) scored the first four points out of the halftime break to force an early CofC timeout as both Simpson and senior Derrell Armstrong (Mechanicsville, Md./Allegany CC) notched points in the first two minutes. The Cougars responded with nine straight points to extend the lead to 46-28 as Willis Hall scored five points in the run, including a three-pointer off a scramble.
The Spartans answered back with six straight points as Simpson hit a jumper while Locke added two baskets in the paint. The 12-point deficit was the closest the Spartans would get in the second half though as CofC out-scored UNCG 44-35 in the frame.
Armstrong finished the game with eight points, all in the second half, as UNCG only had three players with at least eight points in the loss. Willis finished with 12 points and nine rebounds for CofC while Anthony Stitt and Adjehi Baru each chipped in 10 points.
The Spartans continue their three-game road swing through the Palmetto State Thursday night as they take on Furman at 7 p.m.
UNCG/ WFMY News 2 Sports