Wednesday, November 19, 2008

UNCG (1-1) @ Central Arkansas (1-1)

When: Saturday, Nov. 22 7:30 pm cst (8:30 pm est)
Where: Farris Center (5,500)
TV: None

Central Arkansas Athletics

Spartan Notes:
- The Spartans won their last game, against NAIA member Webber International, in a very unconvincing fashion. The bright spots were Landon Clement's 26 points and Mikko Koivisto's 18 points. Ben Stywall had a double-double (12 pts and 10 rebs).
- 11 of the 12 eligible players on UNCG's roster have played in the first 2 games. Mike Hardiman played in the season opener against Charlotte, but didn't appear against Webber International. All 10 scholarship players are averaging over 10 minutes per game.
- UNCG leaders ... Landon Clement 19.5 points, Ben Stywall 8.5 rebounds & Mikko Koivisto 3 assists.
- Only one player has a positive assist/turnover ratio ... Mikko Koivisto 3/1.
- UNCG is shooting 42% (36% from 3 point range) from the field and 66% from the free throw line.
- UNCG defeated Central Arkansas 80-62 in Fleming Gym last year. The Spartans were led by Kevin Oleksiak (28 pts) and Kyle Hines (18 pts and 12 rebs). Mikko Koivisto sat the game out with a sore ankle, but Kendall Toney scored 10 points in his place. Nate Bowie scored 20 for the Bears.

Bear Notes:
- Central Arkansas (Conway, Arkansas) is from the Southland Conference and is in year 3 of transition to D1. They are not yet eligible to win their conference.
- The Bears are 1-1 on the season after losing on the road to Northwestern and winning at against home Bacone College. Marcus Pillow scored 19 points for UCA against Bacone and 13 points against Northwestern. Brian Marks pulled down 12 boards in the Bacone game.
- Marcus Pillow leads Central Arkansas in scoring (16 pts) and assists (2). Mitch Rueter is also scoring in double digits (11.5 pts). Marks is averaging 9 rebounds per game, including 6 offensive.
- On the season, the Bears are shooting 36% from the field and 23% from 3 point range.

My Thoughts:
If the Spartans are going to finish at .500 or better, this is a game they need to win. Yes, it's a road game. But it's at a transitioning school that UNCG beat soundly a year ago in Greensboro. With more road games than home games, UNCG has got to get some wins on the road. Might as well start Saturday night in Conway.

Northwestern held UCA to 25% shooting in the first game. If, UNCG can play solid, 40-minute defense, they'll have a good chance. The Spartans have shown that they can play good defense at times in both of their first 2 games. Hopefully they put it together for a full game.

Pillow appears to be a very capable scorer, and Marks looks like a good rebounder. UNCG big men are going to have to do a better job on the glass or they are going to give up lots of offensive rebounds. The guys are going to have to be strong and decisive with the ball.

For the second straight game, I'm going to make this point. UNCG needs to get some kind of substitution pattern started in this game. There's not much I can add at this point that I haven't already stated.

Hopefully, all of these things can come together and UNCG can return with road victory #1.