GAME NOTES: The UNC Greensboro Spartans look to snap a two-game losing streak as they return home to face the Furman Paladins in Southern Conference action at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Furman hasn't been able to string anything together, only winning two of the team's last six games, including a 72-63 loss at the hands of Chattanooga in the Paladins' SoCon opener. In a wide open Southern Conference, the Paladins will be looking to turn their season around in conference play.
UNC Greensboro has dropped two straight contests, starting on Dec. 30 with a loss to NC State, then again to Western Carolina, 72-51, on Thursday in the team's SoCon season opener. The Spartans have lost four of their last six games.
Furman holds a slim series advantage, 11-10 against the Spartans. These two Southern Conference foes will only meet up once this season.
The Paladins allowed Chattanooga to secure 23 offensive rebounds and net 17 second-chance points in the Mocs' 72-63 win Saturday. Four Chattanooga players recorded double figures in scoring to help down the Paladins in Furman's SoCon season opener. Stephen Croone led the way for Furman, scoring 19 points on 6- of-14 shooting, adding four assists in the losing effort. Kendrec Ferrara added 13 points and six rebounds, while Larry Wideman contributed 10 points on an ugly 3-of-16 shooting performance against the Mocs. Furman only used three reserve players in the contest, combining to score 15 bench points in the loss.
Croone has been a dominant force for the Paladins in an otherwise middle-of- the-road season so far. Croone nets an average of 20 ppg through the 14 contests Furman has played this season, shooting 50.6 percent from the floor and adding a team-best 50 assists to the mix. His 26 steals are also a team- high, and his 5.0 rpg average is tied for the team lead. Wideman is second on the Furman roster in scoring, averaging 12 ppg, while William Gates is third (10.6 ppg), despite not starting a single contest.
The Spartans committed a season-high 23 turnovers against Western Carolina Thursday that eventually led to the team's loss in the Southern Conference opener. Kyle Cain paced the Spartans with 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the floor. The forward added a team-high seven rebounds in the losing effort. Kayel Locke was the only other UNCG player to record double figures, netting 14 points and hitting a perfect 6-of-6 from the free-throw line.
Cain and Locke are the two leading scorers this season for the Spartans, who as a team average 70.3 ppg on 44.6 percent shooting from the floor. Cain nets an average of 15.9 ppg and is the team's best rebounder, grabbing 8.5 rpg in the 16 contests played. Locke isn't too far behind Cain's scoring pace, adding 12.3 ppg. Tevon Saddler (11.7 ppg) leads the team in steals (19) assists (47) and has taken a whopping 106 free-throw attempts this season. He also has turned the ball over 69 times.
Croone is a solid player for the Paladins, but he doesn't appear to be getting much help in Furman's inconsistent season. Look for UNCG to take advantage of multiple scorers and many attempts from the charity stripe.
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