The Braves men’s basketball team extended their winning streak to five games on Jan. 18 with a solid showing against PBC foe Lander in a dominating 83-69 victory over the Bearcats
Efficiency was the main story of the game for the Black and Gold as they shot 50 percent from the field. While they did turn the ball over 20 times, it was negated by their strong performance from the free throw line as they shot 82 percent.
The game was broken wide open late in the first half a large unanswered run that gave the Braves a comfortable enough lead going into the second half to hold off the Bearcats for the victory.
Akia Pruitt, Nigel Grant and Brandon Watts contributed early for the Black and Gold by hitting shots to give UNCP a 15-7 lead early in opening half.
The Bearcats answered over next five minutes of play by forcing bad shots and completing field goals to narrow the lead of the Braves down to only one point with eight minutes remaining.
On the next possession Lander took their first lead of the game since opening the game with the first basket thanks to a layup from Clenzo Ross.
However, the Braves quickly diminished that momentum built up from the comeback as they went on the largest unanswered run of the game by scoring 16 straight points.
Senior guard Mike Smith caught fire during the run and hit three straight three pointers on consecutive possessions.
By the time the Bearcats were able to stop the bleeding by scoring a basket, the lead had grown to 39-24.
UNCP did not let off the gas pedal for the remainder of the half and finished with a 11-6 run to take a 20 point lead into halftime.
With a comfortable lead heading into the second half the Braves needed to just stay consistent throughout the half and prevent the Bearcats from going on any long runs.
Despite the dominating first half the Black and Gold did not control the second half similar to the first.
They were outscored 39-33, however, it didn’t make a difference due to the massive lead that they established early in the game.
The total team victory in which three different Braves scored 14 points and another with 13 helped push their overall record (14-7).