Braves Bench Instrumental in Win Over Bobcats
The UNCP men’s basketball team bounced back from their upset against Lander and avenged an early season upset to Georgia College on the road with an 84-63 come from behind victory against the Bobcats on Lumbee Guaranty Bank Court on Feb. 9.
The game had all the makings of another upset of the No.18 ranked Braves at the hands of Georgia College. The home team was unable to muster up any kind of offense for the first eight and a half minutes of play as shots just weren’t falling for the Black and Gold.
“I thought we were playing hard to start the game. The ball just wasn’t going into the basket. The guys came in off the bench, gave us a big lift, closed the margin a little bit and these guys came back and kept that momentum going into the halftime,” said Head Coach Ben Miller.
Head Coach Ben Miller decided to sub out the entire starting five after the team’s tumultuous start to the game in hopes that his second unit, that is essentially made of starters, would provide the spark that they needed to get things going offensively.
“I definitely feel less pressure just knowing that this team is so deep you know you don’t have to do everything yourself or you know that you can count on your teammates to make plays. We all trust in each other’s abilities, we all know what each other can do on the floor so we never feel any pressure, we know each other can pick up each other’s slack whenever one’s down,” said senior James Murray-Boyles
The Braves were down 10 to nothing before they got their first bucket of the game. They went on a scoring run to tie it up and the two teams traded shot for shot until a 55-foot half-court heave at the buzzer from Murray-Boyles gave the Braves a one-point lead going into halftime up 33-32.
“The funny thing was, when he let the ball go, he said “Green”, and that’s something they say in practice or just shooting around when the shot is going in. It’s almost like he knew it would, it looked pretty good when it left his hands but JB knew it was going down,” said Miller.
In the second half the Black and Gold went lights out from the field shooting 60 percent over the final 20 minutes of play and 68 percent in the final 12 minutes when they were finally able to pull away and tighten up on defense.
Murray-Boyles lead the team in scoring in their bounce back game with 18 points and was just two rebounds shy of notching a double-double. The Braves had three other players reach double-digit outings. Sophomore Spencer Levi led all players of the bench with 10 points.
“I know when I’m having an off game, chances are that the bench players will come in and probably be having a great night. Usually they come in and feed off of us, but tonight we fed off of them,” said junior Akia Pruitt.