Coming into last week, the Spartans Men were fighting for the top seed in the Southern Conference (SoCon), while the Women were looking for their first win in conference play. The teams played two games each against conference opponents. The Men faced off against East Tennessee State (ETSU) and Virginia Military Institute (VMI) on the road, while the Lady Spartans hosted Mercer and Samford in Fleming Gymnasium. Both teams currently sit above the .500 mark overall, with the Men at 14-5, and the Women at 10-9.
Men’s Game 1: UNCG vs. ETSU
On Thursday night, the Spartans were able to take down the ETSU Buccaneers in a tight 83-79 victory. UNCG’s shooting prowess was on display, as the team managed to make 13 three pointers at a 65 percent clip (13-20), while knocking down just under 82 percent of their free throws (18-22). Francis Alonso led the Spartans with 24 points, marking his third straight performance of at least scoring 20 points. The Blue and Gold had three other double-digit scorers on the night, with RJ White scoring 18 points, including a team-high five three pointers, while Diante Baldwin and Marvin Smith chipped in 15 and 10 points respectively.
Men’s Game 2: UNCG vs. VMI
UNCG finished off their two game road stretch against VMI Keydets on Saturday, and the Spartans were able to defeat the Keydets in a 91-82 shootout. The Keydets collected 17 offensive rebounds on the night, but were unable to match the scoring efficiency of the Spartans, who shot an impressive 59.3 percent (32-54) from the field, and knocked down their three pointers at a very strong 52.9 percent (9-17) mark. Five players reached double-digits in scoring for the Spartans, as Demetrius Troy and Diante Baldwin each put in 20 points and 5 assists apiece, while Francis Alonso added another 14 points, and Jordy Kuiper and RJ White contributed 11 points each.
Women’s Game 1: UNCG vs. Mercer
The Lady Spartans suffered a tough 77-64 loss to the Mercer Bears on Thursday night. UNCG was able to outscore Mercer in the second half, including a strong 23 point fourth quarter, but the first half deficit still proved to be too much to overcome. The Blue and Gold struggled on the defensive glass, as the Bears collected five more offensive rebounds than the Spartans, and won the battle of second-chance points 18-7. The Spartans were led by three double-digit scorers, with Nadine Soliman putting in 16 points, Alexis Pitchfork adding another 13, and Gena Penick scoring 10.
Women’s Game 2: UNCG vs. Samford
The first conference win for the Women’s Basketball team came happened Saturday afternoon against the Samford Bulldogs, as the Spartans dominated the 64-40 contest. UNCG shot 51 percent from the field on the game, and held Samford to 35 percent shooting from the field, and only 21.4 percent on three pointers. The Blue and Gold outscored the Bulldogs in every quarter, and were able to force 22 turnovers in part due to their press defense. Four Spartans hit the double-figure mark in scoring, with Shanese Harris leading the team with 14 points, Nadine Soliman chipping in 13, Bailey Williams adding another 11, and Te’ja Twitty contributing 10.
Men’s basketball now sits a half game from the top of the standings, right below the Chattanooga Mocs in the Southern Conference, and is off to its best start in 21 years, matching its second best start in school history. The Women’s team’s 24 point victory over Samford on Saturday was the largest margin of victory over a conference opponent in 10 years. The UNCG Men’s team (14-5, 5-1) will play two home games at the Greensboro Coliseum this week against Mercer (8-11, 2-4) on Thursday, and against The Citadel (9-11, 2-5) on Saturday, while the UNCG Women (10-9, 1-3) will travel to Tennessee this week to battle ETSU (9-8, 1-1) and Chattanooga (9-8, 3-0).