Game #9-422: North Carolina-Greensboro Spartans at Furman PaladinsFebruary 7, 2013 7:00 pm
After five days without seeing any mid-major basketball, it was finally time to get back to seeing more of Our Game. I had last been to a game at Gardner-Webb on Saturday
, and it was now Thursday. I had only had a SEC women's game and a local high school doubleheader to get my basketball fix earlier in the week. Now it was finally time for Division I mid-major basketball again! There was not much on the schedule for this day, so I decided to drive a little further out and go to Furman. Timmons Arena is one of my favorite arenas because of its exceptionally low food prices
, yet this would be only my third visit there since 2009. The two teams playing here would be Furman and UNC Greensboro, both near the bottom of the Southern Conference. In fact, with a recent Paladin loss to The Citadel, these two teams now represent the bottoms of their divisions. But as a devoted fan of mid-majors, this does not bother me when choosing a basketball game. But I had seen this matchup before. In fact, I had just finished writing about a Furman-UNCG game
just a few days prior.
I have never been a big fan of seeing the same two teams play over and over again. Craig Caswell
once tweeted about the number of Division I teams he has seen, and I am in the same boat of liking to see many different teams. Even if I often see two teams, the matchup loses its appeal if I see it frequently. In baseball, this can often be the case. I like doubleheaders as a way to see two games, but don't like having the same matchup again especially if I am a fan of one of the teams playing. Sometimes travel arrangements necessitate frequent matchups. In the summer collegiate Coastal Plain League in baseball, the only two teams in South Carolina (the Florence RedWolves and Columbia Blowfish) have often in the past had over 20 percent of their schedule consist of games against each other. Seeing the same two teams play each other can get boring after a while. But I am nowhere near burned out seeing either Furman or UNCG play yet, and each game presents something different. And it would definitely turn out to be a very different game from what I saw at the Greensboro Coliseum.
For one thing, this was not exactly at the Greensboro Coliseum. This was at Timmons Arena, where parking does not cost $5. And the concession prices differ so much at the two arenas that you behave differently in how you eat. At the Greensboro Coliseum, the concession prices made me try to go as long as possible without eating, and decided that eating in the afternoon was not necessary if it would cost a lot. But at Timmons Arena, the concessions prices force you into a different extreme; that being Super Happy Fun Pig Out Time. At UNCG, I tried to downplay hunger pangs to make it through the game. This game at Furman, I tried to downplay the effects of having overeaten to make it through the game. Oh, and the game would go very different as well. There will be more on that later here.
But there were plenty of similarities as well. In both cases, I paid $10. And my seat was slightly better at the Greensboro Coliseum for $10, although everything else here was of course substantially cheaper. One similarity Timmons Arena shares with the Greensboro Coliseum is that it was not really well designed for basketball as well. Timmons Arena is a multipurpose facility that can be used for basketball, concerts, and even theatrical performances. The seating behind the benches and scorers' table is way too far from the court. The seating behind the baskets is only a small amount of temporary seating, and there is a black curtain here as well. The Black Curtain of Timmons Arena hides various warehouse space behind the baskets towards the team and locker room entrances, as well as typically two sets of bleachers on the concourse that have a very awkward view of the basketball court when the curtain is down. For most games, the space those bleachers are in is used as a picnic table for people to sit down and enjoy their food (see below). You can read more of the complaints of Timmons Arena from Furman fans on their message board here
. But for a multi-purpose facility, Timmons is run in a very fan friendly manner, and much cheaper than the big pro arenas like the Greensboro Coliseum or the Bi-Lo Center located less than ten miles south of Furman. Oh, and of course another similarity between this game and the one in Greensboro was that nine of the starters in that game started in this game. The only difference in the starting lineups between the two games was that Charlie Reddick started for Furman alongside his brother Colin instead of Larry Wideman. But the game itself would turn out to be very different.
Like in the previous meeting, UNC Greensboro would get off to a hot start. The Spartans would lead 24-15 at the second media timeout. But how the Spartans got this lead would be much different from the first game. Furman struggled on offense somewhat this game, but did particularly bad against UNCG early in the game at Greensboro. UNC Greensboro instead however would be able to get the edge this time through good play. UNCG scored 48 points in the first half, largely through a blistering eFG of 72.7% before halftime. Trevis Simpson got hot and drew attention away from Nicholas Paulos, who knock down many wide open shots. And Furman could not match this great offensive production on their home floor. While UNC Greensboro was not able to take advantage of their weaker opponent back at the Coliseum, the Spartans seemed to have learned their lesson and were thrashing the Paladins by 22 points at halftime in Greenville.
But Furman has been here before. They had completed a Ken Pomeroy certified crazy comeback back in Greensboro, coming back from 13 down on the road. So why couldn't they come back from 22 down at home? Unfortunately for the Paladins, there was reason for that. UNC Greensboro had not backed into a winning position, they were earning their lead this time. And with UNCG staying hot, there was nothing the Paladins could do. Trevis Simpson had an okay game back in Greensboro against Furman, but not up to his standards. But Simpson this night showed everybody why he leads the SoCon in scoring. Simpson did everything on offense for the Spartans, making #superhoops, throwing down highlight reel dunks, and taking it strong to the basket and drawing fouls. Furman did not play a very good game, but even if they had they still would have lost. Homecourt advantage did not seem to matter here, and most fans left after the concessions stand closed with seven minutes remaining. Here is what it looked like as UNC Greensboro put away an 88-65 win.
The games were similar to each other in one sense, in that the home team was humiliated in both meetings between the two schools. UNCG rebounded from poor play recently to take care of business against the Paladins in Greenville. Trevis Simpson has been a bright spot for a weak UNCG team on the year, and he shined tonight. Unfortunately for Furman, this meeting was likely more indicative of the quality of these two teams than the last. Furman was able to just simply catch the Spartans at the right time the last game, but UNCG was able to come back with 88 points on 71 possessions. It's a shame that a school devoted to providing actual fan-friendly entertainment rather than simply trying to make money is having a hard time succeeding in Southern Conference basketball. Furman relies on its other teams (principally football of course) to carry the athletic department, with basketball serving as a way to draw fans in for cheap to the Furman campus. But given by the crowd size tonight of 1,102 (about like a typical Citadel crowd), it has not been as successful as it should be. I really like the concessions costs, and purchasing the amount of food I had at this game would cost more than $10 at most arenas. So effectively I got more out of ten dollars than anybody will get anywhere else at any entertainment option. But this still has me worried about how sustainable this is for Furman basketball. At some point Furman will have to make facility improvements considering that Timmons is a less than ideal facility on the whole, and they will need to make more money to pay for that. I doubt Furman wants to stay in the bottom of the Southern Conference in basketball even if their other teams are doing fine. But for now, we will end this recap with Furman baseball players enjoying themselves the way all fans at Timmons Arena do.
NORTH CAROLINA-GREENSBORO 88, at FURMAN 65
NORTH CAROLINA-GREENSBORO 7-15 (5-6) -- D. Williams 4-7 1-6 9; T. Simpson 10-18 6-6 29; D. Parker 1-2 0-0 2; K. McNeil 3-5 0-2 6; J. Potts 4-5 0-0 9; D. Armstrong 5-7 0-1 11; K. Locke 5-9 0-0 11; N. Paulos 4-5 0-0 11; B. Cole 0-1 0-0 0; T. McNeely 0-1 0-0 0; K. Bethea 0-0 0-0 0; D. Robinson 0-0 0-0 0; K. Van Dussen 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 36-60 7-15 88.
FURMAN 6-15 (3-7) -- C. Reddick 2-9 3-5 8; B. Austin 0-6 1-2 1; L. Wideman 5-9 6-9 18; S. Croone 4-9 5-7 13; K. Ferrara 2-4 3-4 7; B. Irwin 3-8 0-0 6; C. Reddick 5-12 2-2 12; D. Brown 0-1 0-0 0; K. Chuisseu 0-1 0-0 0; A. O'Neill 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-59 20-29 65.
Three-point goals: UNCG 9-15 (T. Simpson 3-6; D. Armstrong 1-1; N. Paulos 3-4; K. Locke 1-2; J. Potts 1-2), FURM 3-21 (B. Austin 0-2; B. Irwin 0-5; C. Reddick 1-5; D. Brown 0-1; S. Croone 0-2; L. Wideman 2-6); Rebounds: UNCG 38 (K. McNeil 8), FURM 28 (C. Reddick 9); Assists: UNCG 19 (D. Armstrong 5), FURM 13 (D. Brown 4); Total Fouls -- UNCG 23, FURM 16; Fouled Out: UNCG-K. Locke; FURM-None.