UNCP Hoops Squads Battle Georgia College In PBC Inter-Divisional Matchup
PEMBROKE – Still floating on the emotional wave of two convincing upsets on Wednesday evening at home, the UNCP basketball teams will close out their January home schedule on Sunday when the Braves and Lady Braves suit up to welcome Georgia College to the English E. Jones Center.
The women will open up the doubleheader with a 1:30 p.m. tipoff, while the men's squads are set to lock horns in an approximate 3:30 p.m. start. Admission prices are $5 for adults and $2 for children 18 years of age and younger. UNCP students are admitted free with a valid Braves Card.
The Lady Braves (7-8, 4-3 PBC) most recently posted a paramount upset over No. 11 USC Aiken to extend its winning streak to three-games in conference action. UNCP never allowed the Lady Pacers to control the lead and toppled over the squad with a 52-46 victory to deliver USC Aiken its first conference loss of the season. With the win, UNCP was able to slide into third place in the east division and currently hold the fourth best conference record amongst the 13 Peach Belt Conference teams.
Junior Courtney Bolton and senior Domonique Washington average double-digit scoring with 12.5 and 10.7 points per game, respectively, while Bolton is third in the conference in field goal percentage as she shoots 54.8 percent. Washington leads the defense with an average 6.0 rebounds per game, while Bolton and freshman Jazmine Kemp both pull down 5.9 rebounds per game.
On Friday, Georgia College (4-12, 2-5) was victorious, 58-50, in a hard-fought battle against Francis Marion to enter into Sunday's matchup fresh off a win. Shanteona Keys leads the Georgia College and is fourth in the conference in scoring with an average 14.5 points per game, while Belinda Schaafsma averages 6.2 rebounds per game. The Lady Bobcats are first in the conference in free throw percentage with 74.5 percent.
UNCP and Georgia College will meet for the 33rd time on Sunday in a series controlled by the Lady Bobcats. Georgia College will bring a 25-7 series advantage going into the game including a two-game winning streak. Last season, the Lady Bobcats posted a last-minute 3-pointer with two seconds remaining to secure the 48-45 victory over the Black and Gold.
The Braves (12-5, 6-1) are still riding an emotional high after toppling 19th-ranked USC Aiken by a 78-69 score on Wednesday evening in Pembroke – their first win over a ranked opponent since, ironically, ousting the then-No. 13 Pacers on Jan. 5, 2011, in Aiken. The win vaulted the Braves into a first place tie in the PBC East division, while also handing the Black & Gold its 10th win in the last 12 contests. The Braves will head into the weekend having captured wins in eight of 11 home games this season as well.
Georgia College (9-7, 2-5) has dropped six of its last nine outings, but snapped a three-game losing skid with a 56-54 road win over Francis Marion on Friday. The triumph over the Patriots came despite just 33.9 percent shooting from the field – the seventh time this season the Bobcats have shot less than 40 percent from the field. Georgia College will bring the league's seventh-best shooting team (43.2 percent field goal shooting), but rank 11th among the PBC's 13 teams in both scoring (70.4 points/game) and 3-point percentage (31.8). The Bobcats do rank in the top half of the league in rebounding margin (+6.6/game).
Senior Ryan Aquino is the highlight reel for the Bobcats and averages a double-double with 17.4 points and 10.6 rebounds per game on the strength of 48.5 percent shooting from the field, including a 40 percent success rate from the perimeter. Aquino complements his scoring with 2.2 assists and 1.2 steals per game as well. Fellow senior Jared Holmes chips in a respectable 14.4 points per outing.
Georgia College has captured 24 of the last 26 matchups in the series, but the Braves snapped an 11-game losing streak to the Bobcats on the strength of last season's 66-63 triumph in Pembroke. UNCP captured four of the first six matchups in the series from 1992-95, and five of its six victories against GCSU have come in Pembroke. UNCP booked an 81-78 road victory over the Bobcats on Feb. 12, 1994, but have since dropped 14-straight contests in Milledgeville.