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Eagles' hearts broken again

UNCG tops Southern, 67-64

Eagles' hearts broken again

    GREENSBORO, N.C. — The UNC Greensboro men’s basketball team scored the
final three points of the contest and forced a key Georgia Southern
turnover in the final seconds to hold on to a 65-62 victory Monday night
at Fleming Gym.
        GSU drops to 10-11 overall and 3-7 in the Southern Conference,
while UNCG keeps a share of the SoCon North lead, improving to 12-9 and
9-2.
        “Our guys continue to fight hard,” said GSU head coach Jeff
Price.  “This is the fifth road game that’s gone down to the last two
possessions.  We need to stay positive and continue to work and get
better for the tournament.  Our team has shown it can play with anyone
in the conference and we just need to stay positive keep plugging away.”
        Four Eagles reached double figures, led by senior Donte Gennie
(Tallahassee, Fla.) who had 12.  Junior Louis Graham (West Palm Beach,
Fla.) notched his ninth double-double of the season with 11 points and
13 rebounds and junior Dwayne Foreman (Apopka, Fla.) and senior Jimmy
Tobias (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) tallied 10 each.
        Foreman played just 19 minutes after injuring his hamstring
early in the second half.  All 10 of his points came in the opening
frame.
        “We had to play guys at times that don’t normally play,” Price
added.  “He’s our primary ball handler that breaks the press, makes
decisions and makes shots.  He was playing really well and there’s no
question, when you lose that much of an impact player on the road and
lose him for a whole half, it’s going to be hard.  I thought we hung in
there pretty well for not having him.”
        The Spartans received 20 points and eight rebounds from Kyle
Hines and 15 points from Ricky Hickman off the bench.  Kevin Oleksiak
added 10 more.
        The second half in no way resembled the first as the teams
combined to shoot 48.1 percent in the opening 20 minutes and 36.3
percent thereafter.  GSU hit 55.2 percent (16-29) for 38 points to start
but was hurt by the loss of Foreman.
        “I thought our defense was tremendous,” Price added.  “We held
them to 37 percent, but we turned the ball over 26 times and that’s 26
opportunities we have to get a shot at the basket that we don’t get.  I
thought our defense was excellent and I thought we rebounded the ball
really well, we just turned the ball over too much.”
        The game was nip-and-tuck down the stretch as neither team led
by more than three points in the final 14 minutes.
        A key 3-pointer from Mikko Koivisto put the Spartans up 62-58
with just over three minutes to play, but lay-ups by Graham and senior
Diogo Salazar (Sao Paulo, Brazil) knotted the score at 62-62.
        Two free throws from Hickman after a key offensive rebound by
Koivisto broke the tie, giving GSU the ball with 35 seconds left.
Graham missed an opportunity, but the Eagles retained possession out of
bounds.  On Georgia Southern’s next chance, Hickman came up with a steal
and hit one of two at the line with two seconds left to ice the game.
        The Eagles received a balanced scoring effort in the first half
as seven different players found the scoresheet, led by Foreman’s 10.
        GSU took control in the first half with an 8-1 run, receiving
buckets from four players.
        The tide turned in the final two minutes with five of UNCG’s
points coming at the free throw line.  Matt Akinosho capped off the run
with a tip-in at the buzzer.
        Georgia Southern returns to action Saturday, hosting Chattanooga
at 3:30 p.m.

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