Saturday, January 31, 2009

UNCG (3-16) @ Citadel (12-10)

When: Saturday, Jan 31 7:05 pm
Where: McAlister Field House (6,000)
TV: None/ Spartan All-Access

Citadel Athletics
Citadel Forum

- The last time these teams met, The Citadel hit 3 of 4 free throws over the final 30 seconds to win 57-50. Landon Clement Led UNCG with 15 points.
- Game preview from UNCG Athletics.

Spartan Notes:
- Last time out, College of Charleston shot over 50% from the field and hit 13 3-pointers to down UNCG 89-73. Ben Stywall led UNCG with 26 points and 9 rebounds.
- UNCG's 2-8 conference record leaves them tied for last in the North Division with Elon. UNCG defeated Elon earlier this season.
- The Spartans have cut down their average number of turnovers to 15.8 per game. At one point UNCG was averaging 18.8 turnovers a game.
-Mikko Koivisto leads UNCG in points (12.3) and assists (2.7). Ben Stywall is averaging 11 points and leads UNCG in rebounds with an average of 9.3 per game.
- For the year, UNCG is 39.4% shooting from the field, 29.1% from behind the arc and 65.8% from the free throw line.

Bulldog Notes:
- Austin Dahn hit a late 3-pointer to hold off Elon 60-58. Demetrius Nelson lead the Bulldogs with 17 points.
- The Citadel's 7-4 conference record puts them in 3rd place in the South Division behind Davidson & College of Charleston.
- The Bulldogs are 7-4 at home this season. They have won 4 straight games, 3 of them at home.
- Cameron Wells (14.8 pts & 5.5 rebs) and Demetrius Nelson (14.7 pts & 5.8 rebs) lead Citadel in scoring and rebounds. Zach Urbanus leads in assists (3.2).
- For the season, The Citadel is shooting 44.5% from the field, 35.1% from 3 point range and 70.1% from the free throw line.

My Thoughts:
Just when I lose faith that UNCG will win a game, they win a game. The good news for the Spartans is that I feel that way again. On paper the Bulldogs have some really nice stats. The shoot the ball well, share the ball well and lots of interchangeable parts.

The Spartans have guards that are regressing and a star player that didn't score on Thursday night. Stywall and Eargle have been playing very well, but getting no help.

Most sites I have checked are giving the Spartans between 11 and 11 1/2 points. I think I'd take the Dawgs and the points. Good news, Spartans fans.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Different Location, Same Result

UNCG 73 - College of Charleston 89

News & Record
Charleston Post & Courier
UNCG Athletics
CofC Athletics

UNCG played a bad 20 minutes of basketball against College of Charleston on Thursday night just like they had on December 5. The difference between the 2 games was that unlike the game in Fleming, this one was over with by halftime. The Cougars hit 12 3 pointers in the first half and led 55-37 at the break.

The Good:
-Ben Stywall had an amazing stat line 26 points, 9 rebounds, 5 steal & 0 fouls. Damian Eargle scored 22 points and had 6 rebounds.
- UNCG only turned the ball over 8 times outrebounded CofC 34-31 (13-8 offensive rebounds).

The Bad:
- 20% (2-10) from behind the arc and 41.8% (28-67) overall shooting from the field.
- UNCG point guards (Spooner, Smith & Oliver) combined stats - 10 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist & 5 turnovers. Even their minutes were limited (Spooner-14, Smith-4, Oliver-14).

The Ugly:
Mikko Koivisto - 0 points (0-8 from the field, 0-6 from 3 point range and 0-1 from the free throw line).
- College of Charleston shot 55.6% (35-63) from the field and 59.1% (13-22) from behind the arc. That's pretty awful defense. I don't think it's possible to beat a team when they shoot that well.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

UNCG (3-15) @ College of Charleston (15-4)

When: Thursday, Jan 29 7 pm
Where: Carolina First Arena (5,100)
TV: None/ Spartan All-Access

College of Charleston Athletics
College of Charleston Forum

After spending last week on vacation, I've been running behind on everything. Thus, this blog has suffered this week. Sorry about that. I'll get things back up to speed very soon. Unfortunately, tonight's preview is simply the previews from UNCG and College of Charleston's websites.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Awful Basketball

UNCG 54- Furman 59

News & Record
Greenville News
UNCG Athletics
Furman Athletics
Conner Nolte's Blog

A horrible night at the free throw line (7-20) doomed UNCG and gave Furman their first win against a D1 team. Damian Eargle scored 12 points and Mikko Koivisto scored 11. Ben Stywall pulled down 14 rebounds.

This game was quite simple. You've got to hit free throws. It's that simple. Moving on ...

Monday, January 26, 2009

UNCG (3-14) @ Furman (2-15)

When: Monday, Jan 26 7 pm
Where: Timmons Arena (5,000)
TV: None /

Furman Athletics
Furman Forum
Conner Nolte's Blog (Furman player)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sad News

I decided this needed it's own post.

I just wanted to send out my thoughts and prayers to the family of NC State women's basketball Kay Yow, who passed away on Saturday morning. Yow (a UNCG Distinguished Alumni Award recipient) was a great coach, a great person and an inspiration to everyone. Hopefully, the money that the "Pink" games that she helped start (almost every college and high school team in the country now plays these games) will allow a cure for cancer to be found soon.

God bless you Coach Yow.

No Home Court Advantage

UNCG 54 - Chattanooga 72

News & Record
Chattanooga Times Free Press
UNCG Athletics
UTC Athletics

From the N&R:
"We're more alert on the road," he said. "At home we seem nervous. We're
different. It's confusing to us as a staff."

And to us as fans.

UNCG 61- Samford 76

News & Record
Birmingham News
UNCG Athletics
Samford Athletics

From the N&R:

The defeat marks the sixth straight for UNCG at Fleming. One more loss
would match the longest home losing streak since the end of the 1991-92 and
beginning of the 1992-93 seasons.

-It took me over 5 minutes to find the Samford-UNCG article in Samford's own hometown newspaper. There were tons of Auburn football (and even basketball stories) though.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

On Vacation

As I mentioned in my last post, I'll be in (hopefully) sunny Florida from Wednesday until Sunday. So, I'm going to have to combine previews.

Chattanooga (8-10) @ UNCG (3-12)

When: Thursday, Jan 22 7 pm
Where: Fleming Gym (2,320)
TV: None/ Spartan All-Access

Chattanooga Athletics
Chattanooga Forum

Spartan Notes:
- UNCG pulled away from Elon in the second half Saturday to win 89-72 in Alumni Gym. All five Spartan starters scored in double figures, led by Mikko's 22 and Ben Stywall's double-double (15 pts & 12 rebs).
- After losing 10 straight games, The Spartans have won 2 or their past 3 games.
- The Spartans (2-4) are now tied with Samford for 4th in the North Division and are 1/2 game behind Appalachian State (3-4).
- Mikko Koivisto leads UNCG in points (13.3) and assists (2.9). Ben Stywall is averaging 9.6 points and a team high 9.1 rebounds.
- For the year, UNCG is shooting 39.4% from the field, 30.4% from behind the arc and 67.4% from the free throw line.

Mocs Notes:
- Chattanooga defeated Western Carolina at home on Saturday night. Stephen McDowell led the Mocs with 25 points.
-The Mocs have a conference record of 4-3 which puts them in second place of the North Division, 1/2 game behind Western Carolina.
-McDowell is the leading scorer (20.1). Nicchaeus Doaks is averaging 13.9 points and a team high 9.4 rebounds. Keyron Sheard leads the Mocs in assists (3.1).
- For the year, Chattanooga is shooting 43.3% from the field, 35.6% from behind the arc and 64.4% from the free throw line.

Samford (8-8)* @ UNCG (3-12)*
*Records current as of 1/20/09

When: Saturday, Jan 24 2 PM
Where: Fleming Gym (2,320)
TV: None/ Spartan All-Access

Samford Athletics
Samford Forum

Bulldog Notes:
- Samford will play at Elon on Thursday night.
- Samford goes into that game with a conference record of 3-4. That's good enough to stand alone in 3rd place in the North Division.
- Brian Friday is the Bulldogs leading scorer (11.8). Trey Montgomery leads in rebounds (4.7) and Josh Davis leads in assists (3.1).
- On the year, Samford is shooting 45.8% from the field, 35.8% from 3 point range and 66.9% from the free throw line.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Bad Fans

A couple of bizarre incidents happened this weekend in college basketball.

In a game that featured Providence vs Marquette, a no call on a foul caused this man to casually wander on the court to have a few words with the refs.

There's been many times that I've contemplated giving a referee a piece of my mind before, but this is ridiculous. Besides it looked like a good no call. There was very little contact that was inadvertent at best.

Then there's the Clemson fan section that thinks the players should not go all out for the ball.

I think that you'll see the fans not being allow quite so close to the action at Littlejohn Coliseum in the future. However, how many times do you see a player lay out trying to make a save and there is no incident. Apparently these guys took the term "hostile environment" quite literally.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Road Warriors !?!

UNCG 89- Elon 72

News & Record
UNCG Athletics

Elon Athletics

I wasn't able to watch a single minute of the game due to my wife wanting to go see a movie. By the way, I enjoyed the new Daniel Craig movie, Defiance, a lot more than I would have figured. But, of course, while I'm out UNCG destroys Elon. Have no fear Spartan fans, I'm leaving for south Florida early Wednesday morning and I'll miss the next two UNCG games. Maybe by the time I get back next Sunday I can put links up for two more UNCG wins.

In the meantime, I'll note some things that jump off the stat sheet at me.
- All five starters scored in double figures. UNCG shot 58.9 % from the field and 50% (7-14) from 3 point range.
- Rebounds: UNCG 37 - Elon 25.
- 11 UNCG turnovers.
- UNCG outscored Elon 50-38 in the second half. With all of the problems the Spartans have had in the second half of games this year, it's really nice to see that in the box score.
- After losing 10 straight games, UNCG has won 2 of its last 3. Now if they could just start winning home games.

UNCG (2-12) @ Elon (4-9)

When: Saturday, Jan 17 7 pm
Where: Alumni Gym (1,585)
TV: None/ Spartan All-Access

Elon Athletics
Elon Forum

Spartan Notes:
-Last time out, UNCG ran out to a 29-27 halftime lead, but couldn't hold it as Georgia Southern won 72-63 at Fleming Gym. Ben Stywall led 3 Spartans in double figures with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
- Game preview from UNCG Athletics.
- Mikko Koivisto leads UNCG (12.7) in points and assists (2.8). Stywall is the leading rebounder (8.9) for the Spartans.
- For the season, UNCG is shooting 38% from the field, 29.5% from behind the arc and 67.7% from the free throw line.

Phoenix Notes:
- Davidson jumped out to a 22 point halftime lead and held on from there to win 83-68 in Belk Arena. Ola Atoyebi scored 27 and Brett James pulled down 10 rebounds for Elon.
- Tursday's loss dropped Elon to 1-4 in the SoCon. They are now tied for 5th in the North division, 1/2 game behind Samford (2-4).
- Elon is Atoyebi (14.3 pts & 6 rebs) and James (13.8 pts & 5.4 rebs) lead Elon. Chris Long leads in assists (5.2).
- For the year, Elon is shooting 43.3% from the field, 33.8% from 3 point range and 62.1% from the free throw line.

My Thoughts:
Thursday night was a chance for the Spartans to prove that last Saturday wasn't a fluke and that they really were improving. I'll just call that mission "incomplete". The Spartans stayed competitive and held the lead for long stretches of the game. However, in crunch time, the team folded and the crowd walked away disappointed.

Tonight's game is to stay out of the cellar in the North division. Elon hasn't exactly been tearing things up. So, UNCG has a chance to go on the road and maybe steal a win. They have to do the things well that they did last Saturday in Boone. They must shoot better and take care of the ball.

Go Spartans !!!

Friday, January 16, 2009


UNCG63 - Ga Southern 72

News & Record
UNCG Athletics

From the News & Recrd article ...

"It's kind of frustrating because I thought we were taking steps in the
right direction," Stywall said.

That about sums it up perfectly.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Georgia Southern (4-8) @ UNCG (2-11)

When: Thursday, Jan 15 7 pm
Where: Fleming Gym (2,320)
TV: None/ Spartan All-Access

Georgia Southern Athletics
Georgia Southern Forum
Georgia Southern Blog (Football Related Only)

Spartan Notes:
- Last time out, the Spartans won despite a last second 3 pointer by ASU's Donald Sims that sent the game into overtime, 85-83. Damian Eargle scored 25 points and had 11 rebounds.
- Saturday's win was UNCG's first against D1 competition. The Spartan's other win came against NAIA member Webber International.
- The win pulled UNCG into a tie for 5th place in the North division (1-3) with Elon. The Spartans are 1/2 game ahead of Samford (1-4) and 1/2 game behind Chattanooga (2-3).
-Mikko Koivisto leads UNCG in points (12.8) and assists (2.8). Ben Stywall is averaging 8.8 points and team high 8.5 rebounds.
- For the season, UNCG is shooting 37.9% from the field, 29.5% from behind the arc and 68.1% from the free throw line.

Eagles Notes:
- The Eagles fell to College of Charleston in their last game. Antonio Hanson lead Georgia Southern with 25 points, while Julian Allen had 12 points and 7 rebounds.
-Including Saturday's game, GSU has now dropped 5 of it's last 6 games. The Eagles are 0-6 on the road this season.
- Willie Powers lead 3 GSU players scoring in double figures (14.5 pts). Hanson (13.3) and Allen (12.4) are the other double figure scorers. Powers leads GSU in assists (3.6) and Hanson is the leading rebounder (7.2).
- For the year, GSU is shooting 43.8% from the field, 34% from 3 point range and 69% from the free throw line.

My Thoughts:
Sports are all about proving something. Well this game for the Spartans is all about proving that last week's games weren't a fluke. Proving that they have turned the corner. Proving that they can deal with having some success.

It's very simple. Protect the ball, play defense, make some shots and the home crowd will go home happy. Go prove you can do it again.

Go Spartans !!!

UPDATE: The Charleston Post & Courier is reporting that Willie Powers has torn his ACL is will miss the rest of the season.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

SoCon Update

Just figured with a few days of down time until Georgia Southern comes to town, that I'd do a little recap of what the rest of the Southern Conference teams have done up until now. I'll even include UNCG so that you can see where the Spartans stand in terms of RPI and Pomeroy rankings.

Appalachain State (6-7)
RPI - 254
KenPom - 270
Wins: Charlotte, Campbell, Furman, Wofford, Miligan, Elon
Losses: UNCW, Niagara, ETSU, Kentucky, Texas, UNCG, Davidson

Chattanooga (6-10)
RPI - 200
KenPom - 198
Wins: Tennessee Temple, Tennessee Wesleyan, Mississippi Valley St, Niagara, Furman, Citadel
Losses: Tennessee, Missouri, Memphis, So Cal, Fairfield, Davidson, ETSU, Alabama, Ga Southern, Wofford

College of Charleston (12-3)
RPI - 104
KenPom - 150
Wins: So. Illinois-E, TCU, Charleston Southern, SC State, South Carolina, Elon, UNCG, Coastal Carolina, UNCW, Winthrop, Ga Southern, Samford
Losses: Temple, Davidson, UNC

Davidson (12-3)
RPI - 29
KenPom - 36
Wins: Guilford, James Madison, Winthrop, Florida Atlantic, Loyola-Md, NC State, West Virginia, Chattanooga, College of Charleston, Samford, Citadel, App State
Losses: Oklahoma, Purdue, Duke

Elon (4-8)
RPI - 260
KenPom - 308
Wins: Southern Virginia, Citadel, Lees McRae, Lipscomb
Losses: West Virginia, UT-Martin, Va Tech, College of Charleston, Maryland, Navy, App State, Western Carolina

Furman (2-11)
RPI - 341
KenPom - 337
Wins: Emory, Berry
Losses: Charleston Southern, Duquesne, Dartmouth, Notre Dame, App State, North Florida, Vanderbilt, Western Carolina, Samford, Chattanooga

Georgia Southern (4-8)
RPI - 172
KenPom - 217
Wins: Houston, Reinhardt, Samford, Chattanooga
Losses: Duke, UTEP, Austin Peay, Drake, North Dakota State, Florida, Citadel, College of Charleston

Samford (6-8)
RPI - 246
KenPom - 288
Wins: Spring Hill, Campbellsville, Lipscomb, Louisiana Tech, McNeese State, Furman
Losses: Belmont, Ohio State, Georgia Southern, St Louis, Chicago State, Davidson, Wofford, College of Charleston

The Citadel (7-9)
RPI - 280
KenPom - 279
Wins: Grace Bible, Cincinnati Christian, Charleston Southern, Grambling State, UNCG, Bethune-Cookman, Georgia Southern
Losses: VCU, Iowa, C. Arkansas, Elon, UC-Davis, Michigan State, South Carolina, Davidson, Chattanooga

UNCG (2-11)
RPI - 324
KenPom - 329
Wins: Webber International, App State
Losses: Charlotte, Central Arkansas, NC State, Citadel, College of Charleston, ECU, Kent St, Dayton, Akron, Princeton, Western Carolina

Western Carolina (8-5)
RPI - 189
KenPom - 193
Wins: Toccoa Falls, Louisiana Tech, Northern Illinios, Kent State, Tennessee Wesleyan, Furman, UNCG, Elon
Losses: UConn, San Diego State, Gardner-Webb, Marquette, UNCA

Wofford (6-6)
RPI - 96
KenPom - 195
Wins: UT-Pan American, Air Force, UNCA, Union College, Chattanooga, Samford
Losses: Dayton, Clemson, App State, Georgia, Navy, South Carolina

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Victory !!!

UNCG 85 - App State 83 (OT)

News & Record

I'm not really interested in doing my normal recap. I've raked the team over when they've played bad, by refusing to call anything good or bad (only ugly). Well, after their performance in Boone, I'll just say that everything was good. However, here are some things that jumped out at me during the game.

- Damian Eargle is slowly turning into the prospect that everyone heard about. All of his 25 points and 11 rebounds were needed. Without Elhanan Bone, the UNCG big men are being stretched a little thin. But all of them are playing better and not trying to do too much. I hope that this is just the first of many impressive nights for the "lanky lefty" freshman.
- Daniel Oliver found the "on" switch. Even though he had 4 of the team's 10 turnovers, he played very well in the face of full court pressure. He also shot the ball well when he was left open.
- Mike Dement. I've ripped that guy several times this year. However, this time he deserves some credit. His defensive strategies have worked all year. He just couldn't get any offense to go with the good defense. It's amazing how much better of a coach he looks like when good defensive strategy is paired with a team that puts the ball into the basket.
- 10 team turnovers. See you can win games when you don't give the ball away.
- 51.7% from the field. UNCG has played very good defense all year. What they've really failed to do is put the ball in the basket. The Spartans shot 46% in Cullowhee and now this in Boone. Hopefully, this is case where confidence is breeding more confidence.
- And finally ... I put up the Braveheart picture b/c watching UNCG get this win felt like a damn epic movie. There were 3 times yesterday that I thought UNCG had the game wrapped up, only to watch ASU do something to keep the game going. The Spartan players deserve a ton of credit for not giving up after Sims sent the game to overtime with a shot that shouldn't have went in.

OK, it's 1 win. Let's hope this is the start of something good in the second half of the season and not just a one time thing.

Friday, January 9, 2009

UNCG (1-11) @ App State (6-5)

When:Saturday, January 10 3:30 pm
Where: Holmes Center (8,325)
TV: None/ Spartan All-Access

App State Athletics
App State Forum - Delphi
App Fan - Blog

Spartan Notes:
- Last time out, UNCG fell at Western Carolina 80-75. Mikko Koivisto Lead UNCG with 23 points.
- Last season UNCG took 2 of 3 games from the Mountaineers, winning at Fleming Gym (79-55) and in the SoCon tournament (63-46). App State defeated the Spartans in Boone (91-68).
-Koivisto is leading UNCG in points (12.6) and assists (2.4). Ben Stywall is UNCG's leading rebounder (8.3).
- For the season, UNCG is shooting 36.6% from the field, 29.5% from behind the arc and 67.4% from the free throw line.

Mountaineer Notes:
- ASU defeated Elon 76-52 in Boone on Thursday night. Kellen Brand led the Mountaineers with 17 points.
- App State is averaging turning the ball over 18.8 times per game. This is even higher than UNCG's 17.7 turnovers per game.
-ASU has 4 players averaging in double figures. Brand leads the group with an average of 12.8 per game. Ryan Abraham is leading ASU in assists (3.5) and Isaac Butts leads in rebounds (9.5).
- For the season, ASU is shooting 43.9% from the field, 36.4% from 3 point range and 71.3% from the free throw line.

My Thoughts:
Well, there's not a lot of difference in the stats of ASU and Western Carolina. However, UNCG just has never seemed to play well at the Holmes Center. The Spartans have shown some life during the last few games. If they can find a way to shoot the ball as well as they did on Thursday night, UNCG might have a chance to play with the Mountaineers.

Another Moral Victory

UNCG 75 - WCU 80

News & Record
UNCG Athletics
WCU Athletics

UNCG led 62-53 with a little over 9 minutes left last night. But a 17-2 Western Carolina run erased the lead and made for a hectic end to the game. Unfortunately, 3 turnovers in the last 3 possessions squashed any effort to end the nine game losing streak. Mikko scored 23 and Damian Eargle scored 13.

With such a quick turnaround to the App State game, I'm going to skip doing the normal recap. Instead , I'll just throw out some random thoughts.

- For the first 10 minutes of the game last night, I couldn't get the UNCG radio feed to work. So, I was forced to listen to the Western Carolina radio network. That was painful b/c the guy didn't actually describe what was taking place in front of him. He would go on long tangents talking about WCU's team make-up and doing commercials during actual game time. He also referred to the teams as "us" and "them".

Here's a tip, man. I can't see the game personally. It's your job to describe the action. So do that. Do just that.

- You can see things starting to click for this team. They were in the game at Princeton and they were really in this game. It's just a matter of time. These guys still are fighting for wins. That's a good sign b/c the team could have thrown in the towel a long time ago.

- This team could really use Elhanan Bone. Damian Eargle, Pete Brown and DeAngelo Jackson are out on the court gaining experience and confidence. UNCG really needs Bone to be doing the same thing. Plus, with the way fouls were being called last night, it would have been nice to have another player to put out there. Get better soon, big fella.

- The attendance was officially listed at 412. I'm tired of reading all of the crap about UNCG not being able to draw "flies" to then see them play a road game in front of less than 500 people. UNCG only drew 750 people to a New Year's Eve game in the middle of the day (on a week day no less) and I felt a little embarrassed. Someone needs to tell the people in Cullowhee that they have a nice team that is sitting at 2-0 in the conference right now.

- Stats ... UNCG had 3 players in double figures. Team total of 16 assists. 46.2% shooting from the field and 85% from the free throw line. +6 rebounding margin. The only UNCG stat that points to a loss is the 18 turnovers to WCU's 12.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

UNCG (1-10) @ Western Carolina (6-5)

When: Thursday, Jan 8 6 pm
Where: Ramsey Center (7,826)
TV: None

Western Carolina Athletics
WCU Forum

Spartan Notes:
- Last time out. Princeton hit 11-12 free throws down the stretch to pull away from UNCG 65-55. Ben Stywall led the Spartans with 13 points and 8 rebounds. UNCG cut Princeton's 15 point first half lead down to 3 with a little over a minute remaining, but could get no closer.
- Last season UNCG swept the Catamounts, winning in Cullowhee 74-62 and 60-55 in Fleming Gym.
- UNCG is averaging just 58.2 point per game this season and are in the midst of a 9 game losing streak. The last Spartan win was against Webber International in Fleming Gym back on November 17.
- Mikko Koivisto is leading UNCG in scoring (11.5) and assists (2.5). Ben Stywall is the leading rebounder (8.4) for the Spartans.
-For the year, UNCG is shooting 35.8% from the field, 28.2% from behind the arc and 65.7% from the free throw line.

Catamounts Notes:
- WCU defeated Furman in Greenville on Saturday, 68-57. Brandon Giles scored 25 points and had 8 rebounds.
- UNCG and WCU have played one common opponent this year, Kent State. While UNCG lost to the Golden Flashes (73-62), the Catamounts defeated KSU 89-84 in overtime.
- There are 3 Catamount players averaging in double figures. Giles is WCU's leading scorer, averaging 14.5 points. Jake Robinson the leading rebounder (4.9) and Brigham Wagner is leading WCU in assists (3.7).
- For the year, WCU is shooting 45% from the field, 36.8% from 3 point range and 62.6% from the free throw line.

My Thoughts:
This is getting harder and harder to write as the year progresses. I just don't think this is a good match up for UNCG. WCU shoots a relatively high percentage from the field and from behind the arc. UNCG hasn't shown any offensive firepower this year. So, the best bet for a close game is to get in an ugly defensive affair.

If somehow UNCG can contain Giles and finding their shot, then there's a chance to go to Cullowhee and get a win. But with this team, I'm starting to lose faith. Hopefully, I can regain some tonight.

Go Spartans !!!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Close only counts in ...

UNCG 55 - Princeton 65

News & Record
UNCG Athletics
Princeton Athletics

UNCG spotted Princeton a 15 point first half lead and then spent the rest of the game trying to erase it. The Spartan got to within 3 with a little over a minute to play. But Mike Dement's dumbass foul strategy backfired when Princeton hit 11 of 12 free throws to pull away.

The Good:
- DeAngelo Jackson - 4 points and 9 rebounds (6 offensive) in 24 minutes. Not great stats, but solid enough. Elhanan Bone didn't play. So, Jackson needed to step up to try to replace some of his stats and he did an adequate job. His offensive skills are still raw and not that great, but he helped provide a spark.
- Attitude - UNCG has kept fighting back in almost all of their games, regardless of deficit or talent differences. It almost paid off this time. Hopefully, UNCG will be able to come all the way back next time.

The Bad:
-Shooting - 29.6%. In a game with a team that limits the number of possessions, you have to make a higher percentage of your shots.
- Rebounds - UNCG was outrebounded by a poor rebounding team. Not only that, they couldn't get one in the last couple of minutes when they absolutely needed one. Some of that can be attributed to the lack of Bone's presence. However, you've got to find a way to hold on to the ball when the game's on the line.

The Ugly:
- Mike Dement's ridiculous strategy. He elected to start fouling in a 3 point game with over a minute remaining. Not only that, UNCG fouled a 86% free throw shooter. I don't get it. Yes, Princeton would've ran 30+ seconds off the shot clock. But if they miss (and UNCG was playing very good defense at the time) the Spartans get the ball back with a chance to tie. It made absolutely no sense to me.

A few other things:
- At least twice, I heard the public address announcer call UNCG "North Carolina-Charlotte". I guess we're all the same. Maybe next year when Princeton comes to Greensboro we can call them "Harvard". Heck, all you Ivy league schools are basically the same, right?
- The ESPN-U announcers were gushing over Princeton's Jadwin Gym, going as far as calling it, "One of the five best arena's on the east coast". I don't get it. On TV, that place looked odd, empty and unattractive. Guess you had to be there.

Anyways, let's move on to SoCon play and hope things get better.

UNCG (1-9) @ Princeton (2-8)

When: Saturday, Jan 3 12 pm
Where: Jadwin Gym (6,854)

Princeton Athletics
Princeton Basketball Blog

Spartan Notes:
- Last time out, UNCG fell to Akron 75-53 at Fleming Gym. Ben Stwall lead the Spartans with 11 points adn 11 rebounds.
-Mikko Koivisto still leads UNCG in scoring (11.7) and assists (2.6). Stywall is the leading rebounder (8.4).
- 9 of the 10 Spartan scholarship players active for this season are averaging double figures in minutes played.
- UNCG, as a team, is sporting an awful 1/1.9 assist-to-turnover ratio.
- For the season, UNCG is shooting 36.4% from the field, 28.6% from behind the arc and 65% from the free throw line.

Tiger Notes:
- Princeton lost at Lafayette Tuesday night, 54-53. The Tigers missed a last second shot that would have been the game winner.
- You can see a season recap of Princeton's wins/losses/RPI here.
- Doug Davis is the Tigers' leading scorer, averaging 13.6 points. Pawel Buczak is the leading rebounder (4.6) and Kareem Maddox leads in assists (2.0).
- For the season, Princeton is shooting 41.1% from the field, 35.1% from behind the arc and 71.9% from the free throw line.
- Princeton has 5 players shooting over 39% from 3 point range.

My Thoughts:
From the positive side, Princeton is not very good. They don't rebound the ball nearly as well as UNCG. For the first time in a while, UNCG has a size advantage. This is a very winnable road game. I think it's very hard to criticize the effort that the Spartans have shown in all of their games this year. The execution, however, is where things have went wrong.

From the negative side, Princeton's stats show just what you'd expect. The shoot the 3 pointer really well, and keep the score low. The spread the ball around well and shoot a very good percentage from the free throw line.

Honestly, I'd like our chances if the point guard play was even near an average level. But Princeton's system limits the number of possessions that you get and UNCG just hasn't been effective at scoring points at all. I just don't think this is a good match up at all for UNCG. Hopefully, I'm wrong.

Go Spartans !!!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Turn Away

UNCG 53 - Akron 75

News & Record
UNCG Athletics
Akron Beacon Journal
Akron Athletics

The good:
- Damian Eargle - 9 points, 3 rebounds and 3 blocks in 19 minutes of action. If UNCG could get this kinds of production from Eargle and Bone at the same time, they would be in much better shape.
- Ben Stywall - 11 points and 11 rebounds. When he decided to take it to the basket, good things happened. Wish he could get some help b/c he's been a bright spot for this team so far.

The Bad:
- Free throw shooting - Ben Stywall 7-8. Everyone else 6-12.
- Turnovers - 22. Ugh.

The Ugly:
- Point guard play - It was worse than awful. Combined UNCG points guards' stats ... 9 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 7 turnovers.

Moving on ...