UNCP Hoops Squads To Host Armstrong Atlantic On Saturday
PEMBROKE – The UNCP men's and women's basketball teams will continue a three-game home stand on Saturday when the Braves and Lady Braves welcome Armstrong Atlantic to Pembroke for a 1:30 p.m. doubleheader in the English E. Jones Center.
The Lady Braves (12-11, 9-6 PBC) completed the season sweep of conference rival Francis Marion, 62-52, on Wednesday to clinch the season sweep for the first time since the 2006-07 season. UNCP has posted a 3-1 record in February as three Lady Braves – Jazmine Kemp, Courtney Bolton and DeDe Cotten – average 10.3 points per game or better in the month. Kemp totaled her second double-double of the season with 16 points and a career-high 13 rebounds for the Black and Gold along with snatching two steals and dishing out a trio of assists.
Bolton leads the team with 12.6 points per game, while Cotten puts out 10.2 points per game. On the defensive side of the ball, Kemp collects 6.3 rebounds per game as Bolton is second on the team with 5.7 rebounds. The Black and Gold shoot 38.1 percent from the field and 67.8 percent from the charity stripe, which ranks fourth in the league.
Armstrong (13-10, 7-8) hosted No. 18 Lander on Wednesday evening as the Lady Pirates suffered a 30-point loss in conference action to take their record in February to 1-4. The only win of the month came in a 64-52 victory over Flagler as Mauri Wells notched 16 points and 20 rebounds to lead the squad.
The Lady Pirates hold a better rebounding margin (+3.4) than opponents as Wells leads the conference with 13.0 boards per game. Wells is also at the forefront of the offense with 13.0 points per game as she shoots 48.8 percent from the field, while Danielle Gipson tallies a field goal shooting percentage of 49.4 percent. The team ranks third in the PBC in free throws made per game (12.8) and second in free throws attempted per game (20.6).
UNCP and Armstrong will meet for the 36th time on Saturday in a series controlled by the Lady Pirates, 23-12. The Lady Braves suffered a 54-52 loss to the Lady Pirates earlier this season in Savannah.
Still in the thick of things in the race for the PBC regular season title, the Braves (15-10, 9-6) are fresh off an 88-85 win over Francis Marion on Wednesday that kept them within two games of PBC-leading USC Aiken. With the win, the Black & Gold clinched consecutive winning seasons for the first time since the final two years of the NAIA era in Pembroke (1990-92), while also upping its home record to 10-4 – the most wins in the English E. Jones Center since joining the NCAA Division II ranks prior to the 1992-93 season. The triumph also marked the ninth PBC victory of the season for the boys from Pembroke, matching both last season's club (9-9) and the 1993-94 squad (9-7) for the most PBC wins in school history.
The Pirates (10-13, 6-9) will roll into Pembroke having dropped four of their last five contests, including Wednesday's 76-73 home setback to Lander. Boasting just three wins away from Savannah this season, they have tasted victory on the road just twice since the dawn of the new year and will bring a 3-6 road record into Saturday's outing. Regardless, Armstrong still boasts the PBC's top-scoring team (80.7 points/game), as well as the league's top 3-point shooting (36.2 percent) squad. The Pirates drain nearly eight 3-pointers an outing and have connected on nine or more 3-pointers on nine occasions this season, including a season-best 15 treys in a 96-88 loss to the Braves in mid-December.
Five players will bring double-figure scoring averages into Pembroke, including senior Chris Vanlandingham who ranks seventh among league leaders with 17.3 points per game on nearly 56 percent shooting from the field. Keyshore Williams nearly averages a double-double with 11.3 points and 8.6 rebounds an outing, while Mychal Horn boasts 11.3 points and a team-best 4.6 assists per game. Junior Aric Miller is the team's second-leading scorer at 13.9 points per contest.
The Pirates have captured 24 of the 34 previous series matchups with UNCP, but the Braves have captured wins in three of the last five meetings, including the win earlier this season in Savannah. Seven of UNCP's 10 victories against Armstrong Atlantic have come in the English E. Jones Center.