GAME NOTES: After putting an end to a losing streak on Thursday, the UNC Greensboro Spartans will try to get going in the opposite direction as they entertain the Georgia Southern Eagles in a Southern Conference tilt at Greensboro Coliseum.
Georgia Southern also stopped a skid on Thursday, doing so in dominating fashion by posting an 83-52 rout of The Citadel at home. The Eagles improved to 10-12 overall and to 3-4 in league play with the victory. They are starting a three-game road trip on Saturday, which continues against Wofford next.
UNCG did not coast to its win on Thursday in the same way Georgia Southern did, but a 66-61 triumph over Appalachian State also did the trick to end a three-game slide. The Spartans are 11-12 overall, and have pulled themselves to an even 4-4 in conference action. They will visit Elon in their next contest.
In the lone meeting between these teams last season, Georgia Southern stole a 66-60 win at Greensboro Coliseum. The win was the second straight for the Eagles in the series, which UNCG leads by a slim 12-10 margin.
Jelani Hewitt drilled 4-of-6 shots from beyond the arc to tally a game-high 22 points in Georgia Southern's trouncing of The Citadel. The Eagles connected on 53.4 percent from the floor as a team, including an 11-of-22 showing from beyond the arc. They also outscored the Bulldogs in the paint, 43-30.
Although they are not prone to such explosive offensive displays, the Eagles are a solid offensive team in comparison to the rest of the Sun Belt. They are fourth in the league in scoring (74 ppg) and fifth in field goal percentage (.446). Hewitt (20.7 ppg) and partner-in-crime Tre Bussey (17.3 ppg) handle the bulk of the scoring responsibility. Hewitt is actually the leading scorer in the conference, despite shooting at a 42.9 percent clip from the field. Bussey is a bit better, with 46 percent of his shots finding the bottom of the net. Brian Holmes (9.9 ppg) is the club's next best scoring threat.
After recording only seven field goals in the first half, UNCG turned up the heat in the second to run past Appalachian State. The Spartans had seven 3- pointers in the final 20 minutes alone, part of a 56.7 percent overall shooting effort in the closing frame.
UNCG compares somewhat favorably to the Eagles at the offensive end, shooting nearly an identical percentage from the field (.445), while netting 71.5 ppg, good enough for sixth in the league. Kyle Cain (16.1 ppg, 9.3 rpg), who is second in the SoCon in rebounding, anchors a more balanced attack for the Spartans, who feature four double-digit scorers. Cain tallied 14 points and 15 rebounds in the win over Appalachian State. Also getting in the mix for the UNCG are Tevon Saddler (12.3 ppg), Kayel Locke (12.1 ppg) and Nicholas Paulos (10.1 ppg).
While Hewitt and Bussey are formidable scorers, there reliance on shots from the outside does not translate well on the road, where the Eagles are just 2-8. UNCG should be able to exploit its advantage inside with Cain and defend its home floor.
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