GAME NOTES: A pair of teams stuck in the bowels of the Southern Conference standings will square off on Thursday afternoon, as the UNC Greensboro Spartans tangle with the Georgia Southern Eagles at Hanner Fieldhouse.
This game was orginaly scheduled for Wednesday but moved due to inclement weather.
It has been less than two weeks since these teams last met. In that contest, held on Feb. 1, Georgia Southern pulled out a 64-62 victory on the road. The Spartans have won three straight against UNCG, cutting their all-time series deficit to 12-11.
The Spartans have played just a single game since matching up with the Eagles earlier in the month. That game also ended in a loss, with UNCG falling in a 72-66 verdict at Elon. The Spartans have lost five of their last six games, and are just 4-6 in league play as part of an 11-14 overall ledger. They begin a three-game homestand next against Western Carolina.
Since defeating the Spartans, Georgia Southern has slipped in back-to-back games, suffering letdowns at Wofford (74-61) and Elon (60-59). The Eagles have lost five of their last seven, and have the same league and overall records as UNCG. A test with conference-leading Davidson is next on the schedule.
UNCG has been off since taking on Elon last Thursday. The Spartans only connected on 35.9 percent of their shots from the floor, including a dismal 2- of-13 showing from beyond the arc. Tevon Saddler and Kyle Cain each scored 16 points in the losing effort.
Cain (15.9 ppg, 9.2 rpg) and Saddler (12.2 ppg) are the two best scorers on the roster for the season as well. Cain, a 6-foot-7 forward, can score from just about anywhere on the floor, as he has proven by reaching double figures in 14 straight games. He is also the second best rebounder in the SoCon, with nine double-doubles to his name. Saddler puts in work in the backcourt and bounced back from a seven-point performance against Georgia Southern to tally his 16 points against Elon. However, he has shot below 40 percent from the field in seven straight. Kayel Locke (12 ppg) is the third and final member of the team averaging in double figures.
Georgia Southern nearly pulled off the upset on Saturday, but a 3-pointer from Elon's Jack Isenbarger with seconds to play sank its chances. Jelani Hewitt tallied 20 points and six assists for the Eagles, but the team hit just 38.1 percent of their field goal attempts.
No player in the SoCon is scoring at a better rate than Hewitt (20.8 ppg, 3.4 apg), who also finds time to lead the team in assists. He is shooting at a 42.6 percent clip from the floor and 36.4 percent from 3-point range. His effort against Elon was his fourth straight of at least 20 points. In fact, He has also had at least five helpers in three of the last four outings. Tre Bussey (16.1 ppg) is the team's only other double-digit scorer. However, he finished with only six points on 3-of-11 shooting in the loss to Elon. It was the second straight game Bussey has failed to score in double figures.
Clearly these teams are evenly matched. They own identical records and the difference in their other meeting was only two points. However, Georgia Southern managed to win that game, despite playing on the road. Taking to the road isn't likely to reverse the result for the Spartans.
Game Date and Time