PEMBROKE – The UNCP men's basketball team used rebounding and stout defense near the bucket to end a four-game losing streak via a 66-63 victory over Georgia College on Sunday afternoon at the English E. Jones Center in Pembroke.
The Braves (12-7, 5-6 PBC) captured their first win in the series with the Bobcats (9-9, 3-6 PBC) since the 2003-04 season, snapping an 11-game losing streak to Georgia College. So far this season, the Braves have snapped eight-plus game losing streaks to Lander, USC Aiken and now Georgia College.
The two teams pushed the score to 62-62 following a layup by GC's Reece Wiedeman with 45 seconds showing on the game clock but UNCP would grab the next lead with 18 seconds remaining on a jumper by senior Chris Hargrove. A foul at the other end would put the Bobcat's Jared Holmes at the line for two, and he would miss the first and make the second to leave the score at 64-63 in favor of UNCP with ten seconds remaining.
A foul to stop the clock put junior Marcus Heath at the line, and the upperclassman drained both shots to give the Braves a 66-63 lead. The ensuing play resulted in a turnover by Georgia College, giving UNCP its first win in the last five games.
The Braves were led by sophomore Shahmel Brackett and junior Nathan Priest, who each chipped in 14 points on the afternoon. Priest also led the team with nine rebounds while Brackett added four and finished 3-of-6 from downtown on the afternoon. Priest finished 6-of-8 from the line and 4-of-5 from the field while added one assist and one block in 22 minutes of action.
As a squad, UNCP finished 20-of-50 from the field (40.0 percent) and 4-of-16 from 3-point land (25.0 percent), both below their season average, but used rebounding (40-34 advantage) and limited their turnovers to 17 after accumulating 20 or more in the previous four games. The Braves were also credited with assists on 16 of their 20 baskets from the floor.
The Braves will return to action on Wednesday when they travel south to Florence, S.C. to battle with the Francis Marion Patriots.