Isaiah Saint Hilaire
As we near the end of the UNCG women’s and men’s basketball season, we have all noticed the difference in the success between the two teams. The women’s basketball team has played hard all season long, but in close games, they can not seem to figure out what offensive scheme to run to close out games successfully. The men have picked up right where they left off last season regarding their point production and their skills from beyond the three point line throughout the season. With Marvin Smith taking over as one of their premier leaders, Coach Wes Miller has set up a team that has been formidable thus far in the 2017-2018 season. It has been clear that the men and women basketball team have gone in different directions; however, one thing they both have in common, are the undisputable offensive production they have gathered throughout the past few seasons.
The women’s 80-57 loss against Mercer on Thursday night reflected how the season has been going for the women. They shot only 39 percent from the field and could not get another run going. They had an initial 10-0 run in the first quarter with Solomon hitting a jumper to cap that run off. Mercer then responded with a 7-3 run and never turned back.
On Saturday night, the women’s basketball team lost to Samford 56-48 which gave them an overall record of 8-13. The blue and gold only shot 32 percent from the field and less than 30 percent in their three-point shot attempts. They were tied 48-48 with less than four minutes left to go in the game, but it was Samford that pulled off with the lead to win the game in the end. While the Spartans had two players in double figures, they could not catch up and fell to Samford.
On Thursday night, the UNCG men’s basketball team defeated by conference opponent, Citadel, 72-58 that helped improve their conference record to 4-1. The men’s stellar defense held the number 11 ranked offense in the nation to a season low 58 points. Senior forward, Marvin Smith, held his own with 14 points and four steals on the defensive side of the ball. Without the defense, the Spartans would have found themselves competing heavily with an offense that has been productive throughout the regular season.
On Saturday night, the men’s team defeated Mercer 70-66 in overtime. It was an exciting game if you saw it as both teams went head-to-head and were evenly matched until after regulation. The Spartans had outscored Mercer 15-11 in OT and improved their conference record to 5-1. The Spartans held the Mercer offense to shooting under 30 percent from the field on Saturday night and junior guard, Demetrius Troy, tallied five significant points for the Spartans to clinch the victory. UNCG also shot less than 30 percent from the field, but overcame that issue by forcing a satiable 18 turnovers for the game. It was a game in which improved the conference record for the Spartans which now puts them in the top three in standings for the Southern Conference. While it is still January, this win means a lot for the Spartans because it gives them the confidence that they can swing momentum their way when they please.
Both men and women Spartans have shown us what it is like to play like an athlete. While both teams are headed in different directions, they both continue to equally show us the talent and potential both teams have. This season has been rebuilding season for the women’s basketball team as they have lost some impactful seniors from the previous year. They have struggled to find their identity but have been very close to securing it. The men will continue to climb their way to the top of the standings in the Southern Conference. They have been hot and with that 14-5 overall record and that 5-1 conference record, they are a force to be reckoned with come February.