Tonight was the home opener for UNCG and we hoped to fill the Greensboro Coliseum with 7,000 fans. At 4,123 in attendance, that goal was not met, but the goal of watching a great game was more than surpassed with a 81-65 victory agains the Winston Salem State Rams!

I had to work at my non-UNCG job, so I missed the first half- the Spartans were up on the Rams 39- 32 when I arrived during the half time break. As the second half started, I saw a more resolute Spartan team than played Friday at High Point. PJ caught me up on how the Spartans had been playing in the first half and some of those issues were still going on. The Spartans need to be more aggressive with offensive rebounding. There needs to be Spartans under the basket with hands up! There were times when the ball bounced out of the hole and nothing but red jerseys were there to nab the ball. I must give Winston Salem State due, those players were hustling and picking loose balls out of our hands. It is in the sloppiness of the passing and the poor guarding of a ball in transition where the Spartan lack of experience and cohesion are seen. The talent is there, but who is directing? I think it will come, but we are going to be watching some choppy ball until then!

The game got really fun with a 30-6 run, initiated by Armstrong and elaborated on by Simpson. The Spartans want to play fast ball and when it all works (and the refs stay out of the way) it is so much fun to watch!

As the lead was padded a bit, Wes put in Jordan Potts. While he went 0-2 from the field, he was 2-2 from the line. He has a nice free throw shot. He is not rushed and follows through. All things I like to see in a free throw. Kayel Locke got some good minutes in this game. Those minutes make me excited to watch this young player grow. His talent is obvious, he just needs some maturity at the college level and he is gonna be great to watch! When you add White to the mix, he and Locke have to potential to make a deadly team!!! At the two minute mark, Wes put in fresh players with Potts at the point. These guys looked good. UNCG’s basketball future is bright!

I like to watch #3 Armstrong play. He has all around great hustle and does not stop playing until after the whistle is blown. I have seen him snatch his own rebounds and speed up the court to assist faster than lightening. I think there are times that the rest of the players on the court don’t realize that is his ball and they just need to get out of the way! Well, as I was doing some crowd watching during a time out I spied a group of fans wearing Armstrong jerseys. I have not seen these in the bookstore, so at the end of the game I went to inquire. It turns out that it was his family, including his mom, who were wearing the shirts and she had them custom made. It was nice to meet her and tell her that I love to watch her son play the game. I’m just throwing it out there that if UNCG made an Armstrong jersey, I would wear it!

How could I not end this post without talking about free throws? Tonight, the Spartans were 71.4% from the line. A HUGE improvement from 2 nights ago. While for this game it did not come down to a few points and a “what could have been” if the missed shots had been made, but a team that shoots free throws well is a team that is more likely than not to see post season play.