Spartans Defense Makes The Difference In Win Over VMI
LEXINGTON, Va. – The UNC Greensboro (UNCG) men’s basketball team started a grueling stretch of four games in seven days in four different states with a 72-56 victory over Virginia Military Institute in Southern Conference contest at Cameron Hall Saturday afternoon.
In helping the visiting Spartans create a masterpiece of mayhem, junior guard Kobe Langley(Southwest Guilford High School) was a bundle of disruption from start to finish.
UNCG followed Langley’s lead to hold its third consecutive opponent below 60 points, hand VMI its first loss at home this season, and limit the Keydets to 23 points under their season scoring average.
Langley led UNCG with 18 points. The diminutive dynamo also made a career-best four 3-pointers. He also stuffed the stat sheet with a career best six rebounds, three steals, and three assists.
Those numbers don’t adequately describe Langley’s impact on this one. His energy and encouragement made the difference.
Langley made two 3-pointers, had a pair of deflections that led to VMI turnovers and dove on the floor to save a UNCG possession before the first media timeout. He was just warming up.
Langley also spent so much time on the floor that he knew what brand of paint VMI used on the honey-colored hardwood. Early in the second half after a steal, VMI’s 6-foot, 9 inch, 266-pound specimen Jake Stephens fell on top of Langley, who weighs less than 180 pounds.
Langley popped right up and clapped his hands.
When VMI opened the second half with a quick surge to close to within eight points, it was Langley that ended any thoughts of a rally as he came up with a steal and sank a 3-pointer to expand UNCG’s lead back to 13 points.
With under two minutes remaining, Langley made a tough layup and allowed a small smile to crease his face as he turned toward the delighted UNCG bench. It was only fitting that Langley had the ball in his hands as the clock melted toward zeroes.
UNCG 9-5, 1-1
VMI 9-7, 2-2
Langley on his performance against VMI
“We had lost our first conference game, so we came in with an aggressive mindset. Me, personally, I came in aggressive, took the shots I wanted to take, and my teammates found me. It was a lot of fun playing defense today. We’ve been trying to lock in on defense because that’s our bread-and-butter.”
UNCG head coach Mike Jones on Langley’s performance.
“He was aggressive right from the beginning. I think for him it was a pride thing because he didn’t feel like he played as well as he could’ve in the previous game. He’s got a lot of pride and he came out and competed today. His aggression from the beginning helped us set the tone today. He made some shots, which helped, but the defensive thing is what got to have from him every game and he brought it today.”
How It Happened
Kaleb Hunter sprang off the bench to score 15 points.
Hunter was 7-of-7 from the foul line.
De’Monte Buckingham added 12 points and nine rebounds.
Bas Leyte scored on several balletic moves around the basket to end with 11 points and five rebounds.
Miles Jones made a pair of free throws with 9:59 remaining to give UNCG a 53-42 lead.
UNCG’s advantage never dropped below double digits.
After VMI closed to 49-42 with 11:16 remaining, the Spartans scored nine straight points to regain control of the contest.
UNCG finished the first half by scoring 14 of the final 21 points to open a 36-25 bulge at intermission.
The Spartans held VMI to seven points over the last 6:24 of the first half.
Buckingham’s basket with 11:28 remaining gave UNCG the lead for good, 13-12.
It was part of an 11-3 UNCG surge that gave it early separation.
By The Numbers
This is Langley’s second consecutive double-digit scoring game and the fifth this season.
Langley has scored in double figures five times this season.
After attempting three foul shots against Furman, UNCG went to the free-throw line 13 times in the first half.
Overall, UNCG took 21 foul shots.
Hunter grabbed his 350th career rebound. He finished with four.
This is the 12th time in UNCG’s last 13 games that Buckingham has finished with at least six rebounds.
Buckingham has scored in double figures 70 times during his career.
This was the fifth time this season and the sixth of his career that Leyte scored in double figures.
Dante Treacy had a season-high three steals.
UNCG scored 30 points in the paint.
The Spartans transformed 15 VMI turnovers into 15 points.
VMI entered the game with wins in 16 of its last 17 home contests.
Jake Stephens led VMI with 22 points.
Kamdyn Curfman added 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Keydets.
UNCG held VMI to 10 harmless 3-pointers, two below its average of 12.7, which is second in the NCAA.
UNCG returns home to host Wofford on Monday at 6 p.m.
Two Big Buckets By Horton Leads A&T to Win Over Highlanders
The Aggies are off to a 2-0 start in the Big South.
RADFORD, Va. – Junior guard Demetric Horton (Raleigh, N.C.) hit two critical shots over the final two minutes of North Carolina A&T’s 73-72 victory over the Radford Highlanders Saturday afternoon in Big South Conference men’s basketball action at the Dedmon Center
Horton, who was coming off a career-high 26-point night against Presbyterian College on Wednesday, helped the Aggies improve to 7-9 overall and 2-0 in the Big South.
Horton’s first big moment came after Radford’s Bryan Hart hit a free throw to give the Highlanders a 70-68 lead with a little more than two minutes remaining. Horton responded when he saw his defender sag off too much and proceeded to knock down a clutch 3-pointer. Until that 3-pointer, Horton had taken only five shots in the game.
A put-back by Radford big man Lewis Djonkam put the Highlanders back in the lead a 72-71. However, despite Radford’s 13-6 advantage in offensive rebounding, the Highlanders only had a 12-11 edge in second-chance points.
Following Djonkam’s put-back, Horton ran up to the top of the key to grab the ball from David Beatty, who had a nice 12-point, four-rebound game. Horton went to work from there. He dribbled to the right-wing and pulled up for a jumper he netted despite being draped by a defender as the Aggies took a 73-72 lead with 1:08 remaining.
A&T got the stop it needed and the ball back, but when Collin Smith got whistled for his fifth foul on an illegal screen, it gave Radford the ball back with 32 seconds to play.
Radford’s Bryan Hart shot an open 3-pointer but missed everything. Djonkam raced toward the sideline to save the ball, flinging it over his head and landing it in Josiah Jeffers’ hands. Jeffers, however, could not get his 3-pointer to go, giving the Aggies their third straight win.
The Aggies have won their last two road games after starting the season 0-7 on the road. Radford suffered their first home loss to drop to 5-9 overall and 1-1 in the conference.
“We talked about it,” said A&T coach Will Jones. “We had to take defense on the road with us. If shots didn’t fall when we needed them to, if we didn’t get the whistle our way enough, we needed to take defense with us and these guys for 40 minutes, even against adversity, they believed, and we got the job done.”
Redshirt sophomore forward Marcus Watson led the way for the Aggies with 18 points and nine rebounds. Horton (13) and Beatty (12) joined him in double-figures. A&T also enjoyed their best free-throw shooting performance of the year, going 18-for-21 (.857).
The Aggies dominated much of the first half, and Watson was a big part of it. He scored the team’s first four points of the game. A 9-2 run fueled by five points from Smith had the Aggies ahead 21-11. They led by as much as 12, 36-24, with 2:59 left before halftime. But the Highlanders would mount a 7-0 run to close the gap to five, 36-31.