Spartans muzzle Aggies in ‘Battle of the Boro’Courtesy of UNCG Athletics / December 1, 2016
Share this article:The UNCG men’s basketball team recorded its fourth straight win and improved to 5-2 on the season as the Spartans dominated play against crosstown rival North Carolina A&T State University, 86-66, Tuesday night in the Battle of the Boro at the Greensboro Coliseum.
The Spartans led by as many as 33 points in the first half and are off to their best start at 5-2 since 2004. The victory snapped the Spartans’ four-game skid against the Aggies in series history, marking UNCG’s first win over N.C. A&T since 2002.
“Tonight feels good,” UNCG head coach Wes Miller said. “We haven’t beaten N.C. A&T in a long time and it was good to see us want the game more this time. We came out of the gates with a lot of energy and really shot the ball well in the first half.”
The Spartans’ dominating performance started from the opening tip as senior guard Diante Baldwin scored in the first seconds of the game and UNCG never looked back, opening to a 50-18 halftime lead and cruising to the victory.
The dominating performance was no more evident than in the assist totals as UNCG dished out 23 assists on 31 field goals, while the Aggies only had eight assists on 25 field goals, including just two in the first half. The Spartans also forced N.C. A&T into 17 turnovers, scoring 20 points off those miscues.
Sophomore guard Francis Alonso paced four Spartans in double figures with a season-high 21 points while also dishing out seven assists without committing a turnover. Baldwin continued his torrid start to the season with 20 points and five assists.
Senior center R.J. White added a season-high 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 23 minutes. White connected on 7-of-13 from the field and was 5-of-6 six from the charity stripe. Sophomore guard Demetrius Troy (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God) rounded out the double figure scorers with 11 points and five assists off the bench, including three 3-pointers.
North Carolina A&T finished the night shooting 41.0 percent (25-of-61) from the field and 14.3 percent (2-of-14) from distance. The Aggies struggled from the free throw line hitting just 56 percent (14-of-25). Davaris McGowens led the Aggies with 19 points and 10 rebounds while Raymon Pratt added 15 points. N.C. A&T leading scorer Sam Hunt was held to seven second half points by the Spartans.
UNCG came out of the gate quickly, opening on a 24-4 run to blitz the Aggies in the first eight minutes of the game. Baldwin was the catalyst as he took the opening tip and scored a fast break basket on his way to scoring the Spartan’s first seven points of the game in less than three minutes. After a 3-pointer form Alonso, Troy started to heat up as he nailed three straight from distance off the bench to help the Spartans build a 20-point advantage.
N.C. A&T (1-5) slowed the Spartans a little and trailed 37-18 with 4:24 remaining in the first half. The Spartans out-scored the Aggies 13-0 down the stretch to take a 50-18 lead into the locker room. The 50 points scored in the first half was a season-best for UNCG while the 18 points held was a season-low for an opponent against the Spartans.
The second half started with the Aggies slowly chipping away at the UNCG lead before pulling within 20 at 65-45 with 7:37 remaining. The Spartans ended any doubt with a 19-6 run to take an 84-51 lead with just over four minutes remaining. Baldwin started the run with a 3-pointer before junior forward Jordy Kuiper converted an old-fashioned 3-point play. Baldwin again hit from distance and converted a 3-point play of his own as the Spartans’ defense forced the Aggies into miscues with their full court pressure.