UNCP men's basketball seniors from left to right: Tyler Kordenbrock, Jihad Wright, Brandon Winford, Quamain Rose (Photo by Stefanie Smith)
On senior night for the UNCP men’s basketball team, the Braves were able to capture a thrilling victory in the closing seconds of the game to defeat fellow conference foe Flagler by a score of 94-92.
To start of the night for the Black and Gold, four impactful senior players were honored at the beginning of the game.
Each senior was given a framed jersey to remember their playing days with the Braves.
The four seniors for the Braves that were celebrated included, Tyler Kordenbrock, Brandon Winford, Jihad Wright and Quamain Rose.
Kordenbrock, a 6’9” center from Jacksonville, Fla., was a key big man for the Braves over his career as he averaged 3.6 points and two rebounds.
A consistent force throughout his entire career for the Braves, 6’7” forward Winford averaged 11.2 points in 119 games, including 112 starts.
After transferring his freshman year from Campbell, Wright made immediate impacts upon his arrival to UNCP. He has averaged 6.9 points over his career including a career high this season of 9.8.
Out of all the seniors honored for this team, none are as decorated as 6’0” guard Rose. Rose became a D2 All-American for the Braves his junior season and has averaged 14.2 points per game over his career.
Rose was the only senior that was unable to dress for the game due to an injury he suffered earlier in the season.
In the game, the two PBC rivals battled back and forth throughout the contest. Neither team was able to pull away significantly at any point.
At the beginning of the game the Saints of Flagler had a two or four point lead at multiple times in the first half. However, the Black and Gold were able to consistently answer any momentum the Saints had with their own.
The Braves went into the half only trailing by three points at 44-41.
Junior guard, Alex Bradley, led all Braves in scoring for the first half with 14. Flagler’s Matt Clark poured in 18 thanks enlarge part from five three pointers that he made.
To start the second half of play, led by Flagler’s Keith Gray, the Saints pounced on the Braves early and took a 55-43 lead.
Things turned around for the Braves quickly though, as Brandon Watts and James Murray-Boyles scored key baskets in a 12-3 run that brought the Braves within three points of the lead.
The close play did not last long for the Braves, as the Saints went on another run which saw the lead grow to 67-57.
With one last effort to close the gap with over nine minutes remaining the Braves started to hit their shots.
With 5:26 the Black and Gold’s Mike Smith hit a three pointer to take the lead for the first time in the second half at 77-76.
Down the stretch the teams battled back and forth. Five key free throws from Bradley and Watts gave the Braves enough to defeat PBC foe Flagler 94-92.