Sophomore guard Tyrell Kirk dribbles the ball for the Braves. Kirk tied for
third on the team with 10 points in the Braves’ loss to Barton on Nov. 16.
PN file photo/Trevon Knight
The UNCP men’s basketball team made their way to Mount Olive, N.C. to take part in the 53rd annual Pickle Classic at the Kornegay Arena on Nov. 16 and 17.
After an early shock that resulted in a late scoring drought in the first game of the classic against Barton, the Braves bounced back in with a commanding 105-58 win in their match up with the Mount Olive Trojans to push their record to 3-1 on the season just before their home opener.
In the first game of the two-game road venture the Braves took on the Bulldogs of Barton University.
Both teams entered the contest without a loss on their records and despite leading early, often and as many as 13 points at one juncture, the Black and Gold’s offense was almost completely stagnate for most of the second half.
The Bulldogs mounted a ferocious comeback following a 17-4 scoring run to pull off the 77-72 upset of the nationally ranked Braves.
The team had four players register double-digit points in this game and each of those four also posted at least four rebounds.
The Braves were led in scoring by sophomore David Strother who had a dozen, followed by junior Akia Pruitt with 11 and sophomores Jamal Bryant and Tyrell Kirk tied for third most with 10 each.
In the final and most lopsided game of the classic, the Braves smothered and stifled hosting Mount Olive and unleashed an onslaught of offense on the Trojans by eclipsing the century mark in points.
The Black and Gold were especially dominant and ultra-aggressive in the paint as 50 of their 105 points came in that area and 28 of those came via second chance opportunities after corralling offensive rebounds.
Even though the Braves didn’t jump out to an early first half lead, they would use a 15-2 run to take the lead and unlike the night before, the team would not relinquish the lead or stall out on offense in the second half.
Newcomer Spencer Levi lead the team in scoring in this outing with 23 points coming off the bench.