FAYETTEVILLE — The 10th-ranked UNC Pembroke men’s basketball team put together a momentum-changing 22-2 run amid a 57.7-percent shooting performance in the second half to easily turn back upset-minded Fayetteville State, 68-58, on Wednesday evening inside Felton J. Capel Arena.
The Braves (3-0) have now won 12-straight regular-season road games dating back to last season, and used Wednesday’s result to stretch their series win streak out to nine games as well. It was the fifth-straight home loss in the series for Fayetteville State (1-2) who fell to 12-13 against UNCP all-time in Fayetteville.
The Braves shot 50 percent from the field in the opening half, but Fayetteville State produced an 18-14 edge in the rebounding column and scored a dozen points off of nine turnovers by the visitors to take a 30-29 lead into the half. Bradlee Haskell’s layup with 3:35 left before the break helped UNCP forge a 27-22 lead, but the Broncos closed the stanza with an 8-2 run, including six points from Cress Worthy.
A tip-in from Darryl Myers gave the Broncos a 36-31 advantage just less than 90 seconds into the second half, but the wheels fell off for the hosts after that. A layup on the other end of the court from Cortez Marion-Holmes signaled a 22-2 run for the Black & Gold over the next 8-plus minutes that eventually gave the visitors a 53-38 advantage after Bradlee Haskell’s tip-in at the 8:14 mark. FSU canned just one of its 14 shot attempts over the stretch, while UNCP countered with 9-for-14 field goal shooting and a 4-for-4 clip from the charity stripe.
Freshman JaJuan Carr tallied a game-best 16 points on 5-for-8 field goal shooting, while also turning in three rebounds, two assists and a pair of steals.
Sophomore Bradlee Haskell added a dozen points, including a 2-for-4 showing from the perimeter, while also pulling down four rebounds.
Junior Jakari Gallon tallied a season-best 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field, while newcomer Elijah Cobb pulled down a game-best 10 rebounds.
The Braves have now won nine-straight games in their series with Fayetteville State – a run of success that dates all the way back to the 2009-10 season. UNCP also improved to 13-12 on the road in the series with Wednesday’s result.
Wednesday’s victory marked the 12th-straight regular season road win for the Braves dating back to an 82-63 win at Chowan on Nov. 30, 2021. Eleven of the wins in the streak have come by double digits.
UNCP out-rebounded the Broncos 23-16 in the second half of Wednesday’s win to finish with a 37-34 advantage in the rebounding column. The Braves have now out-rebounded 11 of their last 13 opponents.
The Braves will close out a short two-game road trip on Saturday when they make the long trek to southwest Georgia to take on Columbus State (2-0) inside the Frank G. Lumpkin Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.
Lady Braves drop home opener
The UNC Pembroke women’s basketball team shot 32.7-percent from the field, but Fayetteville State forced 19 turnovers and converted those into 13 points to fend off the Braves 48-44 on Wednesday evening at Lumbee Guaranty Bank Court.
The setback for the Braves (0-3) marked the first loss in six outings when playing at home against FSU. The Broncos (1-2) picked up their first win of the season and shot a season-best 40-percent from the perimeter.
Fayetteville State took an early 5-1 lead, but back-to-back 3-pointers from Courtney Smith gave UNC Pembroke a 7-5 lead with 6:13 left in the opening quarter. Imani Elliott canned a trey to put FSU back in front, 10-9 with 3:30 on the clock, and the Broncos closed out the quarter on a 5-2 run to hold a 15-11 lead.
Both teams struggled offensively going 1-for-8 from the field in the second quarter before a Kalaya Hall three ball broke the silence halfway through the period to trim the UNCP deficit back to 17-13. UNCP limited FSU to just 1-for-10 shooting from the field, and used a bucket from Hannah Russell to whittle the lead down to 18-17 with 3-1/2 minutes remaining in the half.
Imani Elliot knocked down a trey from the top of the key to push the Broncos lead out to 26-22 with 6:20 on the third-quarter clock. UNC Pembroke shot 54.5-percent from the field and closed out the period on a 9-0 scoring run to take a 34-30 lead heading into the final stanza.
An 8-0 fourth-quarter run, which put Fayetteville State back out in front 41-35, was capped off with a Rasheka Simmons 3-pointer. Aminata Johnson sparked the offense with an old-fashioned three-point play followed by an old-fashioned three-point play from Kalaya Hall to knot the score at 41 apiece with 2:11 remaining in regulation. Aminata Johnson’s running layup with 33 ticks remaining cut the score to 45-44, but FSU went 3-for-4 from the free throw line in the final seconds and got the defensive rebound on a last second UNCP 3-pointer.
Kalaya Hall finished with 10 points on 4-for-8 shooting. Hall also pulled down four boards and logged a steal and an assist.
Hannah Russell also recorded 10 points with a 5-for-10 clip from the field.
Zaria Clark added eight points highlighted with a 4-for-6 performance from the free throw line. The sophomore also tallied six rebounds, five assists, and four steals in 35 minutes of action.
The Black & Gold picked up 16 points from inside the paint, while Fayetteville State logged 14 points in the paint. The performance marked the third-straight game UNCP has scored more points inside the paint compared to their opponents.
The Broncos, who were shooting just 1-for-28 from the 3-point line coming into Wednesday’s contest, shot 40-percent from deep going 4-for-10.
The Braves were just 8-for-18 (44.4%) from the free throw line, while the Broncos were 18-for-31 (58.1%) from the charity stripe.
The Braves will hit the road for a non-conference contest against Newberry (0-3) on Saturday. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. inside Eleazer Arena.