UNCG 75-58 W. Carolina
ETSU 68- UNCG 65
Men’s Basketball coach Wes Miller is in the middle of his fifth season as the head coach of the team. Since first being promoted in the middle of the 2011-12 season, the former UNC Chapel Hill guard has led the men’s basketball program to many accomplishments and recognition. This includes a 14 win season, the highest mark since 2007-08, as well as pulling in prize out-of-state recruits such as Kayel Locke and Tevon Saddler. That being said, Miller still has an up-hill battle at the university, not recording a winning record in his five seasons. Miller talked about himself now compared to back in 2011.
“Coaching is like anything else. You are learning everyday and you are learning everything you go through and it has been no different for me.”
Coming into this week in the UNCG men’s basketball season saw the team host two conference games at the Greensboro Coliseum on Thursday and at Fleming Gymnasium on Saturday. This brings up an interesting point on where to have the team’s home games. Though women’s basketball plays at Fleming, the men’s for all but two games this season play away from the on campus gymnasium for the bigger, but off campus Colisuem. To Coach Miller, none of that matters.
“Wherever they tip the ball, that is where we will play” Miller responded without hesitation. “If they want to play in the parking lot, we will play in the parking lot. I think our guys just like to compete and we are happy to play in front of our fans wherever we get the chance to do that.”
On Thursday, the Spartans jumped out to a seventeen point first half lead against Western Carolina and never looked back. The team won 75-58 and reached .500 in-conference play. A big reason for the lead was because of the six triples (three pointers for those not familiar with basketball vernacular) in the half. And with the ten three pointers drained on Saturday, Miller talked about the importance of the three point shot for the offense and the team’s success.
“We are a team that has the personnel to shot it from three and I think we have shot it pretty well from the three throughout the season so far” he said. “Still, we are always looking for the good shots, rather they be from inside, out. I do think we can be a good three point team, but we have to focus on taking the right ones.”
In their Saturday match-up against the Buccaneers of East Tennessee State, the Spartans poor shooting percentage in the first half gave way to a second half barrage of made shots that saw them take a nine point lead. However, poor ball handling in the final minute and a half lead to the Bucs taking the game in front of the blue and gold faithful and sweeping the season series in a second one possession victory against Miller’s team. With a 5-6 record against other SoCon teams, the Spartans are ranked six out of ten. Miller discussed the rest of the season and the tournament.
“I think we need to take it one game at a time and the higher seed you get, the better chance you have in the conference tournament.”
While on the court, the Spartans are attempting to stay afloat, off the court, coach Miller and others are working hard in the community. Like all SoCon coaches, Wes Miller takes part in an organization called “Coaches Vs. Cancer”.
This past month, Miller and cancer survivor Diamonique Suber worked at the Subway in the EUC for a fundraising program. Miller talked about his own and his player’s community work.
“We were approached about doing a local campaign here and partnered with the American Cancer Society and Subway to help raise money for Coaches vs Cancer between the four NC triad schools” he said.
“We really stress community service here and we try to do as much as that with the team and certainly we encourage guys to do that as well. I am proud to say a lot of guys do it individually as well.”
The men’s team will be on the road next week, going to Furman and Samford, before hosting the Chattanooga Moccasins on February 15.