Emmanuel deals Braves men first loss of season

Staff report

FRANKLIN SPRINGS, Ga. — Defending Conference Carolinas champion Emmanuel went 29-of-36 from the free throw line and got 26 points from its bench on the way to an 82-72 victory over the visiting UNC Pembroke men’s basketball team on Tuesday evening in the Shaw Athletic Center.

The setback marked the first of the season for the Braves (4-1, 1-1 CC) who shot a season-low 43.8 percent from the field, including a 3-for-18 clip from beyond the arch. It was the second-straight win for the Lions (3-1, 2-0) who were selected to repeat as league champions in a preseason poll of the league’s head coaches.

Emmanuel led by as many as six points, 32-26, in the opening half after a pair of free throws from Kelvin Jones with 4:42 left before the break, but the momentum swung quickly after that. Deon Berrien’s 3-pointer on the other end of the court marked the first of 11-straight points by the visitors that eventually gave them a 37-34 lead heading into the locker rooms.

Emmanuel shot nearly 52% from the field in the second half, but it was a late run by the hosts that inevitably fueled the outcome. An old-fashioned 3-point play by Spencer Levi with 4:09 left to play gave the game its eighth tie score, but the Lions put together a 12-2 run after that to distance themselves for good. The run was fueled by 1-for-4 shooting by the Black & Gold, who also turned the ball over twice and missed a pair of free throws over the nearly four-minute stretch.

Senior Spencer Levi registered his second-straight double-double (9th career) with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Senior Tyrell Kirk matched a team-high with 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting, as did redshirt junior Jordan Ratliffe who also added six rebounds and a team-high five assists.

Senior Deon Berrien tallied 14 points, including two of UNCP’s three 3-pointers on the night, and registered six rebounds as well.

Tuesday’s result snapped a five-game win streak for the Braves in conference road openers.

UNCP has now out-rebounded its last 16 opponents after posting a 36-34 advantage in the rebounding column against Emmanuel.

The Braves will close out a short two-game road trip on Tuesday (November 30) when they head to Murfreesboro to take on Conference Carolina foe Chowan (0-2, 0-1 CC) in the back half of a 5 p.m. doubleheader at Bob Burke Court.