UNCP Hosts Conference Matchup Against Francis Marion
PEMBROKE – The UNCP basketball squads will look to open up the year 2011 with a pair of wins on Sunday when they host Peach Belt Conference foe Francis Marion in a doubleheader with the women's game starting at 1:30 p.m.
Looking to grab a win after going 0-2 at the Georgia College Classic Tournament during the week, the UNCP women's basketball team will host Peach Belt Conference opponent Francis Marion in Pembroke on Sunday in the English E. Jones Center. Tip off has been slated for 1:30 p.m.
The Lady Braves (4-6, 0-2 PBC) suffered losses to Wingate, 70-65, on Wednesday before turning around and losing to Newberry, 57-50, on Thursday. UNCP fell victim to old habits in committing 24 turnovers to allow Wingate to pull past the Lady Braves. JaToya Kemp registered a double-double with a game-high 16 points and 11 rebounds while grabbing a trio of steals and shooting 100 percent from the foul line. Illya Hunt was 4-of-5 from the 3-point line tallying 12 points and three assists while Briana Stanton added eight points, six rebounds and three assists.
UNCP was then plagued by their worst shooting performance of the season against Newberry with a combined 24.6 percent from the field. DayDay Ray registered a team-high 12 points while Kristen Hobbs and DeDe Cotten each collected eight points apiece. Anya Knower and Ray grabbed nine rebounds while Cotten tallied eight rebounds and Hunt led with a team-best five assists.
Kemp leads UNCP in scoring, averaging 13.4 points per game while shooting 62.3 and 79.5 percent from the field and foul line, respectively, and holding a team-best average 6.3 rebounds and 10 blocks. Domonique Washington, Ray and Stanton average 9.1, 8.7 and 8.1 points per game, respectively. Hunt tallies 27 assists while Stanton and Washington each register 26 apiece. Washington holds 17 steals while Stanton has 15. The Black and Gold shoot a combined 40.4 from the field and 64.5 from the free-throw line.
Coming off a non-conference win on Thursday against Queens, Francis Marion (7-2, 0-1 PBC) was led by senior Shannon Singleton-Bates who scored a game-high 16 points to help capture the 69-52 victory. Simone Trice tallied her first career double-double with a career-high 12 points and 10 rebounds while T.T. Belcher was just shy of a double-double registering a career-high 11 points and collecting nine rebounds. The Patriots shot a combined 44.4 percent from the field while going 5-of-5 from free-throw line.
Singleton-Bates upped her career total to 1,382 points against Queens and is 15 points shy of 12th place on the Patriot's career scoring list. Singleton-Bates leads the team with an average 18.6 points per game while Courtney Mealing averages 16.8 points. Robin Colbert averages 11.4 points per game while leading the team with a matched team-best 40 assists, a team-high 59 rebounds for an average 6.6 rebounds per game, 35 steals, and seven blocks. Francis Marion shoots a combined 45.4 percent from the field, 36.4 percent from the 3-points line and 69.5 from the charity stripe.
Sunday's matchup will mark the 52nd meeting in a series that has been dominated by the Patriots. Francis Marion holds a 34-17 advantage in the series and has won the last six matchups against the Lady Braves.
The UNCP men's basketball team (8-2, 1-1 PBC) will get back into PBC play during Sunday's matchup after a nearly a month layoff from conference action. UNCP lost their last PBC matchup on Dec. 4 by a 57-60 final against Clayton State.
During the month break from conference action, UNCP earned a pair of wins over Allen and Anderson by scores of 78-65 and 84-69, respectively. The wins gave UNCP its best start since the 1999-00 squad reeled off nine-straight wins to begin the season. The Braves have now out-rebounded all 10 opponents it has faced this season, while its 22-rebound advantage against Anderson on Dec. 18 marked the fifth time this season the Braves have outdone their opponent by 20 or more rebounds. The two losses for the Braves have come by a combined five points as UNCP dropped a 64-62 decision at Belmont Abbey in mid-November, as well as a 3-point loss to Clayton State on Dec. 4.
The Braves are currently third in the conference in scoring with an average of 82.2 points per contest, while sitting sixth in scoring defense allowing 65.6 points per game, giving them the third-best scoring differential in the league at +16.6 points per contest. The Braves also lead the conference in rebounding margin with a +14.4 mark, a good four rebounds per game better than Georgia Southwestern who sits second in the category.
UNCP junior Nathan Priest earned PBC Player of the Week laurels on Dec. 20 after averaging a steady 13.5 points and 8.0 rebounds during the Braves' wins over Allen and Anderson. Coming off the bench in both games, Priest connected on 73% of his shots (11-15), turned in 1.5 blocks and 1.5 assists per game and half of his rebounds were on the offensive glass. He began with a 14-point, eight-rebound effort against Allen, dishing out three assists, then had 13 points with eight more rebounds in a comeback win against Anderson. Priest hit six of eight shots from the floor against the Trojans with a blocked shot. The junior is currently second in the PBC in field goal percentage and ranks in the top 20 in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots.
Joining Priest on the PBC leaderboard is sophomore Shahmel Brackett, who is currently 11th in the league with a 14.7 points per game average, and is eighth in assists per contest with 4.0 per game. Fellow sophomore George Blakeney is 22nd in scoring with a 12.7 per game scoring average and follows Priest on the rebounding charts with an average of 6.3 rebounds per game, good for 22nd in the league, and is seventh with a .610 field goal shooting percentage.
Sophomore K.J. Cooper is fifth in the PBC with a 4.3 assists per game average and is also seventh in assist-to-turnover ratio with a mark of 2.3.
The Patriots enter the contest with a marks of 6-2 overall and 0-1 in the PBC. Their only conference matchup ended in a 67-78 loss to USC Aiken on Dec. 1 in Aiken, S.C. They sport five players averaging over 10.0 points per game in Liki Turner (15.9), Simel Boyd (15.0), Evrik Gary (14.8), Shawn Greenfield (10.4) and Dominique Coleman (10.3).
UNCP holds a 33-28 lead in the all-time series that dates back to the 1971-72 season. UNCP won the last matchup, an 89-80 victory on Feb. 3 in Pembroke during last season.
The men's game will start following the conclusion of the women's game.