Last Wednesday night, the UNCG Men’s basketball team played their final home game of the season against Furman. The game itself was hard-fought with tons of defense being played on both sides. Unfortunately, it turned out to be an 81-67 loss, but both squads played super competitively. For the three seniors on UNCG, it could be one of the last games they play on their home floor.
After the team’s final regular-season game this Saturday at Chattanooga, the postseason will begin. On March 6, the SoCon tournament begins, where the team will have a chance to win in Asheville and ultimately earn a bid in this year’s NCAA Tournament. Regardless of what happens, UNCG has had a great season, and they’ll be back even stronger and better than before.
Getting into the specifics, The Spartans had a general lack of offense and a difficult time getting penetration into the lane. Furman did a great job of this early, putting UNCG in foul trouble within the first eight to ten minutes of the game. Only three Spartan players scored in double figures, and James Dickey III led the team with just 15. Comparatively, five Furman players scored in double figures.
From tipoff, a few too many possessions were spent settling for contested jump shots where they could have put the ball on the floor and attacked the basket. Especially in the first half, Furman ran a lot of their half-court sets out of the high post, so on the defensive side of the ball, Coach Miller would’ve liked to see more double teams on their smaller guards. Furman jumped out ahead with a ten-point lead, which they more or less held until halftime.
Although the outlook wasn’t the best, the Spartans never gave up and made a good push to comeback- symbolized by the incredibly made half-court shot by Isaiah Miller right at the halftime buzzer. UNCG student Myra Solona stated: “The whole crowd went wild… every spartan was up in their seats cheering.”.
At the start of the second half, UNCG adjusted by utilizing a full-court press on a lot of plays, pressuring Furman to play at a faster pace than they’re comfortable with. Everyone fought with tons of heart: James Dickey III and Kyrin Galloway came out of halftime providing nice leadership, making plays and scoring for the team. Number 13 Angelo Allegri also did a fantastic job providing a spark off the bench, scoring most of his points towards the final six minutes or so in a comeback effort.
With a little over four minutes left in regulation and a four-point deficit to overcome, the game was within reach, but the Spartans simply didn’t get enough quality play from the guard positions. Another student attending the game was quoted saying, “We just didn’t play like we wanted to win, which we should have been doing from the start.”
Credit is due to Furman’s Clay Mounce who played much-needed defense throughout the game, and to senior Jordan Lyons who drilled a contested three-pointer to bolster the Paladins lead within the remaining two minutes. Mike Bothwell was another Furman player who played great in the closing possessions of the game on both sides of the floor. Congratulations to Furman on this one, but there will surely be another chapter of this great SoCon rivalry.