GAME NOTES: There's one team that will leave the inaugural Gulf Coast Showcase without a single victory, and it comes down to either Stetson or UNC Greensboro.
In the case of the Hatters, they are seeking their first win of the season overall, having dropped seven straight coming out of the gate. Before arriving at Germain Arena, the Hatters had fallen in three consecutive games to Sunshine State opponents, and now the team is in danger of losing a total of six games in a row in Florida.
After bowing to Wagner in the first round of this tournament on Monday, 81-64, the Hatters then suffered a 67-48 defeat to Southern Illinois yesterday, the scoring effort marking the lowest of the season for the squad.
As for the Spartans, they had won two straight and three of their first four games before tipping off in this event, but Monday saw the group take a 99-62 loss from Louisiana Tech, and a day later suffer an 83-71 setback to San Diego.
In terms of the all-time series between these two teams, this bout marks the first-ever meeting.
Stetson hung tough against the Salukis through the first half of their meeting, even though the Hatters shot only 36.0 percent from the floor, but the five-point deficit at the break ballooned to double figures in the second half because Stetson was able to shoot only 8-of-30 (.267) from the field. Aaron Graham tried not to crack under the pressure as he tallied 17 points, while Raymone Andrews tacked on 12 points in the losing cause after no one else on the roster made more than a single field goal.
Graham now leads the Hatters in scoring through seven games with his 12.3 ppg. On a unit that has converted a mere 36-of-127 (.283) behind the 3-point line, Graham is the only player that has made more than four triples to this point. In fact, Graham is actually shooting better from beyond the arc (.455) than he is from the floor overall (.408).
The Spartans fell behind immediately against San Diego and never recovered, trailing by as many as 12 points on Tuesday, which just happened to be the final margin of victory. Kyle Cain tried to keep the team in the mix with his 21 points, while Tevon Saddler chipped in 12 points, but he ended up with six of the squad's 13 turnovers on the day as well. RJ White contributed 10 points off the bench.
Cain, the leading scorer for the Spartans in three of their last four outings, checks in with 17.3 ppg as he shoots 58.9 percent from the floor. As someone who spends a considerable amount of time in the paint, it only makes sense that Cain is also the leading rebounder for the program with seven boards per outing. As a group, UNCG is beating opponents on the glass by more than seven per game.
The Spartans are shooting 50.1 percent from the floor right now and have shown that they can pile up the points from time to time, but too often those outbursts have come against inferior competition, which should open the door for Stetson to quite possibly come close to a victory finally.
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