The UNCP men’s basketball team was in jeopardy of losing back to back games for the first time this season when they found themselves down by 14 points midway through the second half before they battled back the double-digit deficit to secure an 81-78 victory over the Mountain Lions of Young Harris University on Feb.16 in Young Harris, Ga.
The difference was ultimately made at the charity stripe. The disparity between the two team’s free throw shooting percentages ended up being the deciding factor in this contest as the Braves shot better than 90 percent on the day as they clawed their way back and the Lions dismal 30 percent from the free throw line would doom them down the stretch.
The Black and Gold went a perfect 12-for-12 from the line and shot nearly 60 percent from beyond the arc in the first half but were just 9-of-29 from the field. This allowed the Mountain Lions to put up a 48-37 advantage going into the locker room.
However, Young Harris’ lack of success from the charity stripe would spell their demise in the second half as the Braves missed only two free throws on the day as they completed the season sweep of their conference foes and kept pace for the Peach Belt Conference regular season title.
The Braves had two players tie for the team lead in points this contest as redshirt sophomore David Strother registered his third 20 point game of the season and redshirt freshman Cam Hamilton used some proficient shooting from the perimeter to put up 20 points against the same Young Harris team that he put up a career high 21 points on earlier this season.
Junior Akia Pruitt logged his fourth double-double in the last eight games and the 18th of his career with 13 points and team leading 15 rebounds. It also tied a career high for him in boards, 10 of which came on the defensive end.