COLLEGE BASKETBALL: UNCG escapes with 71-69 win over Jacksonville

GREENSBORO, N.C. - UNCG rallied from a 10-point, second-half deficit to defeat Jacksonville, 71-69, in men's basketball action on Sunday in the final game of the Spartan Showcase inside Greensboro Coliseum. The Spartans end the tournament 2-2, while the Dolphins fall to 1-3.

Jacksonville (2-5) was looking to secure its first triumph against a Southern Conference opponent since a 65-53 win over Furman on Dec. 22, 2012, and appeared to be on its way after a Marcel White floater in the paint 17 seconds into the second half pushed the Dolphins edge to 10, but UNCG (3-3) hit 50 percent from beyond the arc in the final 20 minutes to cut into the double-digit deficit and eventually lead 56-54. Seven of UNCG's first eight makes after intermission were from deep.

Despite giving up an average of two inches and 55 pounds per man on the front line, Jacksonville out rebounded UNCG, 40-34. The Dolphins were 43.9 percent from the floor Sunday. The Spartans shot 42.4 percent.

Trailing by 10, UNCG hit two threes in the first four minutes to cut the deficit to three points. After a Josh Adeyeye layup pushed Jacksonville's upper hand back to eight, 47-39, the Spartans countered with a 17-7 push in a 5:04 span, as consecutive 3-pointers by Clay Byrd gave UNCG its first lead since the 17:57 mark of the first half. 

The Dolphins trailed by one four times over the next four minutes and eventually tied the game at 62 after Darien Fernandez made both free throws of a double bonus, but Kayle Locke made back-to-back left-handed jumpers in the paint to push the margin back to two possessions and give the home team the lead for good.

A Darius Dawkins 3-point shot from the corner with 7.3 seconds left cut the margin to two. After a Dolphins timeout, UNCG's Diante Baldwin appeared to step out of bounds on the baseline after receiving the inbounds pass, but the play was not reviewed, and the Spartans passed the ball into the frontcourt as time expired before Jacksonville was able to foul.

Locke led all scorers with 19 points on an 8-of-14 effort from the field. Marvin Smith tallied a double-double with 10 points and as many rebounds.

Kori Babineaux scored 12 of the Dolphins first 14 points and finished with 17. Jacksonville was 8-of-16 shooting to start the game, while the Spartans were just 5-of-12 and 1-of-8 from distance.
White finished with 13 points and eight rebounds. Fernandez added 12 points, five assists and three steals.

A Dawkins'  trey gave the Dolphins their first double-digit lead, 31-21, at the 6:30 mark in the first period. The Dolphins drilled 50 percent from deep in the first 20 minutes, including five of their first nine attempts, and shot nearly 52 percent to lead 38-30 at the break. Babineaux led all scorers at intermission with 17 on 7-of-8 shooting from the floor, including a perfect 3-of-3 from 3-point range.
Jacksonville falls to 2-1 this season when leading at halftime.

The Dolphins return to Historic Swisher Gymnasium on Wednesday, Dec. 2, to host NAIA Division II member Florida Memorial at 7 p.m. ET.

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