Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Early UNCG Surge Hurts N.C. A&T Aggies In Loss

GREENSBORO, North Carolina – UNC Greensboro hit the North Carolina A&T men’s basketball team with an onslaught of full-court pressure, 3-point shooting and fast break layups over the first 12 minutes of Tuesday night’s battle of Greensboro at the Greensboro Coliseum.

The Aggies eventually steadied themselves but the damage was done in an 86-66 loss to the Spartans. UNCG was able to snap a four-game losing streak to their Division I crosstown rivals with the win. Junior forward Davaris McGowens secured his second double-double of the season with 19 points and 10 rebounds on 9-for-13 shooting to lead N.C. A&T (1-5). Freshman and Greensboro native Raymon Pratt added 15 points.

“They set up a 1-2-2 full-court press in the first half that really bothered us,” said N.C. A&T coach Jay Joyner. “We had 13 turnovers in that first half, and we only had four in the second. Go into the game one of the keys was taking care of the basketball, and we didn’t do that.”

There was a combination of the things that didn’t go well for the Aggies early. N.C. A&T had seven turnovers in the first eight minutes of the game. In the meantime, the Spartans (5-2) hit eight out of their first 11 shots including four 3-pointers to take a 24-6 lead. The Spartans lead grew to 50-18 at halftime.

“We had six or seven point-blank shots at the rim in that first half and didn’t finish. It was just a tough night for us,” said Joyner. “The guys are bothered by the way we played tonight and rightfully so. But we need to stay positive, weather the storm and continue to get better.”

From the moment the Aggies fell down by 18 early, they played the Spartans evenly. They shot 56.7 percent in the second half after shooting 25.8 percent in the first half. After going just 2-for-11 from the line in the first half, the Aggies were 12-for-14 in the second. “I commend the guys for coming out in the second half and despite being down that many, continuing to fight,” said Joyner.

Francis Alonso finished with 21 points on 5-for-8 shooting from 3-point range, while Diante Baldwin finished with 20 points and 3-for-5 shooting from three. The Spartans knocked down 13 threes on the night. N.C. A&T will hope to use a more productive second half into their next game against a good North Dakota State team that is 5-3 on the season. The Aggies face the Bison 7 p.m., Thursday at Corbett Sports Center.



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