The Sports Cycle returns on WUAG 103.1 FM airing Monday’s at 5 p.m. EST. Listen for the latest sports-related news updates, discussions on controversial topics, live coverage of sporting events, in-studio interviews, ticket giveaways, and all-in-all entertaining conversations with a sarcastic-comedic twist. Tune in with its hosts Terrence, Jeanni, and the remaining members of the WUAG 103.1 FM Sports Department!
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Davidson controlled most of the game against College of Charleston taking 2013 Southern Conference Men’s Basketball Championship title winning 74-55 as we cover Game 11: Davidson vs. College of Charleston! #SoConHoops
March 10, 2013
Story by: Ian Foster
A disappointing end to a disappointing season: a phrase that could and probably will be used to describe UNCG’s season-ending loss to Elon last night in the Southern Conference quarterfinals here in Asheville.
It’s disappointing to us, the fans, who expected more after a 10-8 mark in the conference last year and the first semifinals appearance for the school since 2008. It’s certainly disappointing to people like those in the pep band, who use SoCon as an opportunity to kick off Spring Break by following the basketball teams around and scream their hearts out supporting them (source: I did this for two years. It was awesome.)
But as I noted on Saturday, it’s easier for all of us than it is for the players. The season didn’t go the way we wanted it to go, but it especially didn’t go the way Wes Miller, Trevis Simpson, and the rest of the boys would have hoped.
Never is that more evident than it is in those post-game press conferences. Those are brutal for the losers—you lose a hard-fought basketball game that ends your season and ten minutes later some stoic SoCon official is ushering you into a room full of people about to ask you to dissect one of the most painful losses you will ever experience as a player or a coach.
So it makes sense that Simpson, who again made first team all-conference but has been criticized some for jacking up too many shots (UNCG mounted their comebacks against Chattanooga and Elon with Simpson mostly on the bench but that’s a discussion for another day), broke down about fifteen minutes after an open look from downtown that would have brought the Spartans within one in the final minute rimmed out.
Just as it is our job in the media to ask tough questions to athletes in tough situations, it’s the athlete’s job, as someone who is allowed to go to university for free in exchange for playing basketball, to care so much that they can’t help but let emotions take over after a loss like that.
Wes Miller’s team may not have won many games this year. They may not have lived up to expectations. But in the end, the press conference revealed that they cared, that they left their hearts on the floor. As a fan, a writer, a pep band musician, that’s all we can hope for.
Heck, perhaps the telling moment came about twenty minutes after the press conference, when Terrence and I ran into Miller and assistant coach Jackie Manuel on our way out of the US Cellular Arena. I know I personally haven’t always been the easiest on coach Miller. I too got swept up in Millermania last year so I tried to make it a point to ask difficult questions when things weren’t going so well; or even sometimes when they were.
The point is, he came up to us and said, “thanks for covering us this season,” which I really appreciated. I also appreciated his response to Terrence bidding them the typical ‘good-season’ farewell: “yeah, well, we have to do better.”
Tomorrow I’ll take on the task of showing how they can do better. Miller has the much more difficult task of making it happen.
March 9, 2013 6:00 p.m.
Story by: Ian Foster
The UNCG men’s basketball season came to an end last night on the heels of a 68-61 loss to in-state rival Elon in the quarterfinals of the Southern Conference tournament Saturday night in Asheville.
It is tough to play two close, hard-fought, emotional games in just 26 hours, especially when those games are in the mountains, where fatigue hits earlier and with more frequency.
That fatigue seemed to affect the Spartans’ shooting, as they earned 22 more shots than the Phoenix over the course of the game but only converted one more. Many of the shots that missed clanged off the front rim, a sign that the mountain air was weighing on the Spartan legs as the tournament wore on.
Ball pursuit was a point of emphasis for head coach Wes Miller, who saw his team come back from down 11 in Friday night’s game against Chattanooga in large part because guards and smaller forwards were getting to the loose balls and rebounds with more frequency. That theme continued Saturday night as Derrell Armstrong and David Williams powered their way to eleven and ten rebounds, respectively, leaving UNCG with a six rebound edge over Elon when the final buzzer sounded.
Further, UNCG turned Elon over 13 times while the Spartans only turned it over six times. After the game, Elon head coach Matt Matheny commented that UNCG over their three games turned Elon over more than any other team in the SoCon.
With that said, that effort wasn’t enough. Elon’s ability to get to the free throw line and convert proved the difference, as they hit 15 of 20 from the charity stripe in the second half compared to UNCG only hitting 4 of 11.
Elon led the entire second half, but there was a moment in the final minute when UNCG could have pulled within one. After an Armstron layup pulled UNCG to within four with 62 seconds left to play, the Spartans resolved to play defense and not foul. It worked as Elon point guard Jack Isenbarger, who left for a decent portion of the second half with flu-like symptoms, turned the ball over to Kelvin McNeil.
After a timeout, a play was drawn for All-SoCon first team Trevis Simpson, who found an open look from downtown…and missed. Elon rebounded and made five of six free throws down the stretch to close it out.
Later today, as the semifinals of the Southern Conference tournament take place, you’ll see a season retrospective here on the Sports Cycle tumblr.