OPENING NIGHT GLITTERS: UNCG does it with defense to beat Little Rock
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The UNC Greensboro (UNCG) men’s basketball team ignored the temporary inconvenience of an early 11-point deficit in its season-opener against Little Rock at the KFC Yum! Center Friday night.
The Spartans aggressively reversed momentum with their vaunted pressure defense. The steals came. The stops followed. Easy baskets flowed like water. When the game concluded, UNCG had an impressive 77-70 victory over the Trojans in a battle of a pair of teams ranked in the CollegeInsider.com preseason Mid-Major Top 25 poll.
Little Rock was fourth and UNCG was ranked 12th.
Isaiah Miller scored a game-high 24 points on 10-of-13 shooting. He also finished with five steals to raise his career total to 246 to move into a tie for seventh place in Southern Conference history with Zakee Woodard of East Tennessee State.
Hayden Koval enjoyed a strong debut with 14 points, seven blocked shots and six rebounds. Kaleb Hunter had 10 points and five rebounds. Angelo Allegri made three 3-pointers and scored nine points. Two of his 3-pointers occurred in the final five minutes to help UNCG hold off Little Rock.
UNCG scored in thunderous clusters off of its press during an impressive 22-2 burst that bridged the first and second halves. That stretch of sterling defense turned the game around for UNCG.
UNCG turned 20 Little Rock turnovers into 21 points. The Spartans held the Trojans scoreless for the final 3 minutes, 7 seconds of the first half. They scored 11 straight points highlighted by Khyre Thompson’s 3-pointer to beat the buzzer. His shot gave UNCG a 36-30 lead at intermission.
The Spartans opened the second half by tallying 11 of the first 13 points. UNCG had its largest lead 47-32 with 15:55 remaining. It was a reversal from a slow start that saw UNCG trail, 18-7 more than 10 minutes into the game.
Angelo Allegri made a pair of clutch 3-pointers in the final five minutes to quell a late Little Rock surge. UNCG made five of its seven 3-pointers in the second half.
Mohammed Abdulsalam led UNCG with seven rebounds. His effort helped UNCG to a 39-24 rebounding edge. The Spartans scored 22 second chance points.
Little Rock got a combined 40 points from Nikola Maric (21 points) and Mario Lukic (19). Markquis Nowell had six assists to lead the Trojans.
UNCG returns to action on Sunday, November 29 when it meets Winthrop at 8:30 p.m.
**********Three points tonight for Keyshaun Langley and no points tonight for Kobe Langley, with the Langley Twins with UNCG, coming in from Southwest Guilford High School, and the Langleys are in their second season, with the UNCG Spartans…**********