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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 7, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Dean E. Smith Center (21,750) -- Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: UNCG 3-2, UNC 2-1. Away Record: UNCG 0-0, UNC 1-1. Neutral Record: UNCG 1-2, UNC 2-0. Conference Record: UNCG 0-0, UNC 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: Coming off a double-digit road victory over the top-ranked team in the land, the North Carolina Tar Heels turn their attention to the UNC Greensboro Spartans for a non-league clash at the Smith Center.
North Carolina notched an impressive 79-65 victory at No. 1 Michigan State on Wednesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, its NCAA-best 13th win over teams ranked No. 1. The Tar Heels have been a tough team to gauge in the season's early going, as they also beat then third-ranked Louisville on Nov. 24, but have suffered losses to the likes of Belmont and UAB. Tonight's contest kicks off the Tar Heels' six-game homestand leading into ACC play on Jan. 5, although they'll take a one-week break for final exams following this tilt.
UNCG head coach Wes Miller makes his return to Chapel Hill, where he was a letterwinner on the Tar Heels' 2005 national title team. His Spartans dropped two of three games last week in Estero, Florida as part of the Gulf Coast Showcase before returning home Tuesday night and suffering an 87-66 setback to Presbyterian. Tonight's contest marks the first true road game of the season for UNCG.
This is the first-ever meeting between these two schools.
The Spartans were simply dominated from wire to wire against Presbyterian, as they trailed by 15 at the break and watched the deficit swell to as many as 22 midway through the second half. UNCG shot just 35.3 percent for the game while Presbyterian shot a blazing 63 percent en route to 87 points. PC also knocked down 8-of-14 3-pointers (.571) and held a 21-8 scoring edge at the foul line. Nicholas Paulos paced the Spartans with 22 points to go along with seven rebounds, while Kayel Locke (nine rebounds), Kyle Cain (11 rebounds) and Tevon Saddler (six turnovers) each scored 10 in the loss. Cain is averaging a team- best 16.9 points per game on the season behind 54-percent shooting from the floor, and he ranks second in the Southern Conference with 8.0 rebounds. Saddler is next in line with 14.1 ppg.
Surprisingly, UNC never trailed Michigan State despite playing on the road in a hostile environment against the nation's top-ranked team. Five players scored in double figures, led by freshman Kennedy Meeks, who tallied a season- high 15 points to go along with seven rebounds in just 18 minutes off the bench. Brice Johnson was next in line with 14 points, Nate Britt and Marcus Paige each scored 13, and J.P. Tokoto recorded his first career double-double with 12 points and 10 boards. After being dominated on the boards in last Sunday's loss at UAB (52-37), the Tar Heels managed a 49-38 rebounding advantage over the Spartans. They also held MSU to 35.9-percent shooting. Paige leads the team with 19.7 ppg on the season.
Barring a colossal letdown on its home floor, UNC should be able to notch a win over another Spartans team in this matchup.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: North Carolina 83, UNCG 65
12/07 10:35:45 ET
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