Written by UNCG Sports Information Department:
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - The UNCG men's basketball team suffered a hard fought 59-50 Southern Conference loss to Wofford Saturday night at Benjamin Johnson Arena. The 50 points scored are the lowest output of the season for the Spartans, who entered the game averaging a league-high 72.6 points per game.
"Tonight was a very physical, hard fought game," head coach Wes Miller said. "I am proud of our guys fight tonight as they battled a physical team in a tough environment, but Wofford ended up coming out on top of all the loose ball plays and made a few more shots than we did tonight."
UNCG (7-16, 5-7 SoCon) connected on just 32.1 percent (18-of-56) from the field and only 20 percent (4-of-20) from long range just one game after posting its season-best shooting percentages at Furman Thursday (60 percent/60 percent). The Spartans also missed all eight of their three-pointers in the second half as Wofford out-scored UNCG 38-27. Junior Trevis Simpson (Douglas, Ga./Coffee) was the only Spartan in double figures as he scored 16 points on 5-of-21 shooting while also grabbing nine rebounds.
Wofford (10-15, 4-8 SoCon) connected on 38.2 percent (21-of-55) from the field and 25 percent (3-of-12) from three-point land. The Terriers also hit 73.7 percent (14-of-19) from the charity stripe. Wofford had two players reach double figures as Spencer Collins scored a game-high 20 points and Karl Cochran posted a double-double of 16 points and 12 rebounds.
The first half was a tough battle for both teams as the first 20 minutes only resulted in 44 total points between the two teams. The Spartans opened the game on a 9-4 run as Drew Parker (Houston, Texas/La Porte) hit an early three-pointer before Simpson nailed a jumper for the five-point lead.
Wofford settled in and took a 19-16 lead with 3:42 left in the half as CJ Neumann converted an old-fashioned three-point play. Also during the run, Cochran hit two jumpers and Collins hit the Terriers' lone three-pointer of the half.
Simpson had the Spartans' answer as he scored five straight, including hitting a three-pointer when Wofford went to a zone defense. Jarell Byrd tied the game for Wofford at 21-21 with 2:50 left in the half before senior Derrell Armstrong (Mechanicsville, Md./Allegany CC) scored on an off-balanced drive as the shot clock was expiring with under 10 seconds left in the half to send UNCG into the locker room with a 23-21 lead.
UNCG connected on just 29.6 percent (8-of-27) from the field and 33.3 percent (4-of-12) from long range in the first half. The 23 points scored by the Spartans in the first half is tied for the lowest output this season in the opening frame (at Western Carolina). Simpson led all scorers with seven points while sophomore Nicholas Paulos (Salt Lake City, Utah/New Hampton School) added five points and four rebounds.
Wofford fared slightly better from the field at 32.1 percent (9-of-28) but only hit 14.3 percent (1-of-7) from long distance. Collins led the Terriers with six points while Cochran added four points and five rebounds.
Wofford came out of the break and took a 36-31 lead with a quick five-point spurt when Cochran hit a three-pointer. The Spartans answered back to tie the game at 38-38 with a 7-2 run that was capped off by Simpson converting an old-fashioned three-point play.
Wofford took the lead back for good with an 11-2 run to take a 49-40 lead with 4:19 left in the game. The Spartans committed three turnovers in the run that led to six fast break points, including a three-point play from Cochran. UNCG pulled back within five points a couple times down the stretch but Wofford hit eight of its last 10 free throws in the final minute to seal the victory.
Armstrong finished the game with eight points and five rebounds as he was 4-of-11 from the field. Junior David Williams (Jacksonville, Fla./First Coast) grabbed eight rebounds and added five points while freshman Jordan Potts (Columbus, Ohio/Northland) dished out four assists and score five points.
The Spartans return home to the Greensboro Coliseum next week for a pair of SoCon divisional games as they welcome in Western Carolina Thursday and Appalachian State Sunday.
UNCG/ WFMY News 2 Sports