Graham Scores 25, Men's Basketball Edges UNCG
GSU avenges a loss earlier in the season to the Spartans and improves to 15-8 overall and 8-5 in the Southern Conference. UNCG drops to 13-7 and 7-4. Up next for the Eagles is a home date Thursday against Western Carolina.
It was a record-setting night for both teams. GSU senior Dwayne Foreman (Apopka, Fla.) became the school’s all-time assist leader and currently has 538 for his career. His surpasses Charlton Young (1989-93) who had 530. UNC Greensboro senior Kyle Hines blocked five shots to become the SoCon’s all-time leader with 312.
“If there was ever a termed “hard-fought” game, that was certainly it,” said GSU head coach Jeff Price. “It was hard-fought by both teams. I’m sure as a fan it was great to watch (but) it wasn’t particularly great for me to watch. I mean we were getting stops when we needed to, but (it was) an exciting basketball game (and) hard-fought. They are awfully good. They have so many weapons offensively and we didn’t have many answers defensively. But luckily we were playing really well on the offensive end tonight.”
Johnson missed the front end of a one-and-one with eight seconds to go in the game but came up with a steal just as the final buzzer sounded.
“Well, I told him he made up for it,” said Price. “I mean, obviously you want him to knock those down, but he came down and did a really nice job on the defensive end, got in front of his man, stayed in front of his man and got a steal which we had to have. We got stops (but) I wasn’t happy with our defensive effort. But I thought that we wore them down. They only played seven guys. And I really thought the reason they missed those shots the last two minutes of the game is that they were tired. That was kind of our plan going in, to get a little deeper off the bench, pressure, wear them out and we got stops in the last two minutes of the game.”
The two teams combined to score just six points in the final 3:58. GSU senior Matthew Fields (Jacksonville, Fla.) hit a lay-up to tie the game for the 12th time at 76-76 with 3:58 to play and Graham put the Eagles on top for the final time just over a minute later. He doubled the lead with his final points of the night at the 1:54 mark but Kevin Oleksiak cut the margin to two with a second-chance lay-up with 1:18 remaining.
The Spartans missed their first chance to win the game with 12 seconds left when a long-distance 3’ by Oleksiak rimmed out. Johnson came up with the rebound and was fouled, setting up the dramatic final moments.
Graham, the conference’s co-player of the week, shot 11-for-17 from the floor and blocked two shots. In his last three games he is averaging 25.7 points.
“He has been great the last six, seven games putting up numbers. He’s averaging 25 a game or something. He’s been a real warrior inside for us. I thought tonight we really matched them physically and I think that’s a problem we’ve had a little bit against bigger teams like Chattanooga, App State and Davidson. Greensboro is strong inside and I think we did a nice job of matching them defensively.”
Oleksiak, who tallied 29 in the first meeting Jan. 5 in Greensboro, led the Spartans with 20 points and Hines contributed 19 points and nine boards to go along with his five blocks.
- Category: Men's Basketball
- Published on Monday, 04 February 2008 00:26