BATON ROUGE, LA. – In a game where both offenses were hot from all over the court, UNC Greensboro men’s basketball’s late comeback attempt against No. 23 LSU fell short with the Spartans losing by a final of 97-91 at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
While the Spartans were down by as much as 18 in the second half, UNCG was able to trim the deficit down to as little as five before the Tigers notched a six-point victory. With the loss, the Spartans are now 1-1 on the young season.
"I think, give the credit to [LSU Head Coach] Will [Wade] and his group," said Head Coach Wes Miller. "They’re really good, really gifted, and proposed a lot of challenges for us on the defensive end of the floor. I thought we did some nice things offensively. I was happy with the way we shot the ball from three and some of the shots that we created with our offense. I didn’t like us turning the ball over. I didn’t like us on the boards on defense or on offense. I thought we got just destroyed there. You look up and you make 19 threes, score 91 points, and you lose. I think that’s telling you you're not doing some things defensively and you're not doing some things rebounding."
The Spartans jumped out to an early 11-5 lead as Francis Alonso had eight of those 11 points while Demetrius Troy added the other three points. They continued to lead by six points with 13 minutes remaining in the first half at 23-17 after Isaiah Miller avoided traffic in the lane to extend UNCG’s lead to that margin.
However, the Tigers outscored the Spartans 32-13 from that point on as freshman forward Naz Reid led all scorers with 16 points.
During the first half, UNCG was called for 12 fouls. Five different players were called for at least two fouls as well. The Tigers took advantage of the Spartans’ foul troubles, as they converted all 13 of their free throw attempts.
UNCG was able to chip away at LSU’s lead early in the second half as the Spartans made five straight three-point attempts to begin the frame. At one point, the Tigers were ahead by 18 before the Spartans kept trying to get back into the contest and cut the lead in half at 88-79 with 3:45 left as James Dickey made his first career three.
Then with less than 1:30 remaining, Kyrin Galloway got the Spartans to within six as the junior forward made his seventh three pointer on the night. A late turnover by Troy, though, let UNCG’s last chance for a comeback slip away.
Galloway provided troubles for LSU’s defense throughout the night, as he scored a career-high 32 points off 12-of-14 shooting. In the second half when the Spartans needed a jumpstart to get back into the game, he was a perfect 9-of-9 from the field, hitting all seven of his three-point attempts as well.
The Spartans will return to the court Tuesday evening when they face UNCW at Trask Coliseum in Wilmington, N.C. Last season, UNCG defeated UNCW 71-58 at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
News And Notes
--The Spartans remain in search of their first victory over a ranked team. Their next chance will likely come on Dec. 1 when UNCG takes on Kentucky in Rupp Arena. The Wildcats were ranked No. 2 in the preseason AP Poll.
--Alonso continues to move up the ranks in program history in career points, as the Malaga, Spain, native cracked the top five with his 20-point performance. Alonso on the night passed Scott Hartzell and Ricky Hickman to move into fourth place. Additionally, Alonso is now just five made three pointers behind Hartzell for the most threes made in program history.
--Miller made two three pointers in the game. The Covington, Ga., native made just one his entire freshman season.
--Freshman forward Mohammed Abdulsalam made his on-court debut on Friday evening after not playing in the season opener against North Carolina A&T. Abdulsalam logged four minutes of action. Abdulsalam is now the third freshman to play this season, joining Kaleb Hunter and Angelo Allegri.
-- UNCG –