GAME NOTES: The UNC Greensboro Spartans will attempt to put an end to their three-game losing streak on Thursday night, as they return home to Greensboro Coliseum for a Southern Conference clash with the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
ASU has not performed well this season, winning just six of its 19 games, but after an 0-4 start in the Southern Conference, it has picked up back-to-back wins over Georgia Southern (81-68) and most recently at The Citadel last Thursday (80-67), its first road victory of the season in 10 tries.
UNCG has been streaky on the campaign en route to its 10-12 overall record. The Spartans had been winners of three straight prior to their current losing streak, with their most recent matchup ending in a 77-67 setback at Chattanooga on Saturday night.
The Spartans own a 22-19 advantage in the all-time series with the Mountaineers, which includes a 66-60 at ASU on Jan. 9.
The Mountaineers used a hot shooting night in their most recent contest to breeze past The Citadel by 13 points, draining 55.7 percent of their field goal tries, including 7-of-14 from 3-point range. Tab Hamilton and Mike Kobani led the way with 18 points apiece, with Kobani doing his damage on 9-of-10 from the field in just 24 minutes off the bench. Mike Neal contributed 13 points and five assists, while Frank Eaves added 12 points to the balanced effort.
On the season, ASU gets outshot by its opponents from the field, 47.3 percent to 42.3 percent, for a -2.7 scoring margin, and also boasts disappointing percentages from 3-point range (.309) and the free-throw line (.663). Hamilton is the team's top scorer with 13.6 ppg but he shoots less than 39 percent from the field. Tevin Baskin (10.9 ppg, 5.0 rpg) has missed the past two games, and in his absence Neal (10.4 ppg) and Michael Obacha (5.8 rpg, 8.9 rpg) have been called upon for bigger contributions.
The Spartans managed to overcome a double-digit first-half deficit in their latest contest to take a one-point lead with six and a half minutes remaining, but from there Chattanooga finished the game on a 22-11 run to pull away. They shot 45 percent from the field but just 2-of-10 from beyond the arc and were hindered by a game-high 18 turnovers. Tevon Saddler paced the effort with 24 points and seven rebounds, while Kayel Locke and Kyle Cain poured in 14 and 11 points, respectively.
UNCG shoots nearly the same percentage from the field (.446) as its opponents (.447), but it still yields 74.4 ppg while scoring just 71.7 ppg due mostly to its poor turnover margin (-3.0). Cain is a sturdy anchor in the frontcourt with 16.0 ppg (on 49 percent field goal shooting) and 8.9 rpg. Saddler (13.0 ppg) nets less than 40 percent of his shots overall, while Locke (12.6 ppg) and Nicholas Paulos (10.2 ppg) round out the double-digit scorers.
Despite ASU's recent surge, it still hasn't performed well on the road, and with UNCG holding an impressive 7-4 home mark, expect the Spartans to down the inconsistent Mountaineers in this one.
Game Date and Time