GAME NOTES: The Spartans of UNC Greensboro try to get to .500 in Southern Conference play this afternoon, as they play host to the Western Carolina Catamounts.
Currently two games below .500 on the season, the Spartans snapped a two-game slide on Thursday night with a 68-56 victory over Georgia Southern. It was just the second win in the last seven games for UNCG.
Meanwhile, the Catamounts were in action on Valentine's Day and failed to feel any love from Chattanooga which sent the visitors packing with an 83-73 loss in Tennessee. The setback snapped a modest two-game win streak by WCU.
Western Carolina won the first meeting of the season in early January by a score of 72-51, limiting UNCG to just 39.5 percent shooting from the field and forcing the Spartans into a staggering 23 turnovers. With the win, the Catamounts moved to 27-16 in the all-time series.
The Catamounts scored the first four points of the game against Chattanooga the last time out, but the team ended up shooting just 2-of-11 behind the 3- point line in the first half, 10-of-17 at the charity stripe, eventually leading to the double-digit road loss. Brandon Boggs managed to post 21 points, followed by James Sinclair and Trey Sumler with 15 and 12 points, respectively.
A starter in all 24 games in which he has appeared, Sumler leads the program in scoring with his 18.0 ppg and is also involved in both rebounding (4.0 rpg) and passing (4.3 apg) as he tries to get the Catamounts on the right track as often as possible. Boggs checks in with 11.2 ppg, although he is shooting just 53.8 percent at the free-throw line, followed by Sinclair with another 10.9 ppg, but in his case he has made just 38.8 percent of his field goal tries on the campaign.
Outside of trailing by six points about midway through the first half, the UNCG defense did everything right against Georgia Southern as it limited the hosts to a mere 31.0 percent effort from the floor, including 7-of-29 behind the 3-point line. Tyrone Outlaw gave the Spartans a spark off the bench with his game-high 17 points on 5-of-6 shooting beyond the arc, while Tevon Saddler added 12 points and Kyle Cain 11 rebounds to make up for a 2-of-9 shooting performance.
Cain, who is now shooting 47.9 percent from the field on the season, not only leads the Spartans in scoring with his 15.3 ppg, he is also by far the most productive rebounder as well with 9.2 rpg, posting more than twice the number of rebounds of all but one of his teammates. Saddler accounts for another 12.7 ppg and is tops with 79 assists, but he has also hurt the squad with 99 turnovers and just 38.7 percent shooting from the floor.
Western Carolina may have the better overall record between these two teams, but the squad has been awful on the road in 2013-14 and that alone should give the hosts a fighting chance this afternoon.
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