PEMBROKE — The first half of Thursday’s game against visiting Barton wasn’t the best for the University of North Carolina men’s basketball team at Pembroke, and they trailed by two at the break .
But the Braves started the second half with a big run, which proved to be the difference in a 97-90 win.
“We didn’t execute the game plan in the first half, so I told the guys at half time that it wasn’t a situation where we really needed to change anything. other than Barton played harder than us, and we weren’t going to the basket very hard,” UNCP coach Drew Richards said. “There wasn’t a big adjustment; it was basically to do what we told you to do at the start of the game, and we started to do better in the second half, which helped us regain the lead.
The UNCP (13-1, 10-1 Conference Carolinas) trailed 45-43 at intermission, and a layup from Malik Bryant on the first possession of the second half gave Barton (4-8, 2-6 CC) a 47-43 lead. The Braves then went on a 15-2 run to take a 58-49 lead with 16:23 to go. Tyrell Kirk scored seven points during the run as part of his 22-point, six-assist performance.
“I started off slow, and that’s not all, but my teammates found me and I had to get my energy back because we were down and everyone was blaming each other,” Kirk said. . “So we turned it around and I brought energy.”
“We definitely had a two-half history with this team,” Richards said. “I don’t think it takes a rah-rah speech at halftime to get us back on track, but sometimes that’s what it takes and sometimes we start slow.
The Bulldogs closed to a 63-59 deficit before an 11-5 surge, including another 3-point Kirk, extended the UNCP lead to 74-64, its biggest of the game, with 8: 41 to go.
Jett Fortuny’s 3-point shot — he made six in the second half — kept Barton within reach, including one that made it 82-77 with 4:33 to go. But the Braves provided enough hoops to keep the Bulldogs at arm’s length, and after the Braves went up 87-77 with 3:24 to go, the margin was never less than seven.
Fortuny finished with 25 points, including a 7-for-8 mark from the free throw line and nine rebounds; Bryant scored 32 points, including 22 in the first half, and Donaven Hairston had 17 points and seven assists for the Bulldogs.
“(Bryant) and Fortuny enlightened us, kinda kicked us. But (Bryant) is a good player,” Richards said. “They changed what they do to fit their staff, and we tried to work on that and explain that they’re going to keep driving, driving, driving. They have a guy who really pulls the tar, and he did that tonight.
After a hotly contested start, Barton raced 12-2 to take a 23-14 lead; UNCP responded with a 9-0 run to tie the game at 23-23 with 10:33 to go in the first half. Neither team led by more than three points as the rest of the half was a back-and-forth affair.
The fact that the Braves trailed by just two at halftime is a testament to Spencer Levi’s play in the first half, with 12 points, four rebounds and three blocks in the first 20 minutes. Levi had some foul trouble in the second half, but made some key baskets in the stretch and finished with 17 points and seven rebounds.
“Whether it’s rebounding, scoring, whatever I’m being asked to do, I just know I have to play my part at the highest level possible,” Levi said. “Personally, I don’t think I should have to do this all the time; I’m okay with doing it, but we’re too good a team to let that happen and even be two behind at that kind of level.
Trenton McIntyre had 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Braves, Deon Barrien had 12 points and seven assists and Jordan Ratliffe had 11 points.
The UNCP plays Mount Olive at 7 p.m. Monday in a battle of the top two teams in the Carolina Conference.
Poor shot from Dooms Lady Braves
The University of North Carolina Pembroke women’s basketball team went overboard by visiting Barton on Thursday, hitting the free-throw line more efficiently and getting solid production from their post players.
But the Lady Braves just couldn’t shoot, resulting in a 59-50 loss.
UNCP (9-5, 7-3 CC) were 1-for-17 (5.9%) from beyond the 3-point line on a 17-for-57 (29.8%) night on the ground as a whole.
“I think we did a good job attacking their area – we got him in and got to the free throw line; we got into Zaria (Clark), she scored, we put him into Gabby (Smith), she scored – but the bottom line is when people zone you in, you gotta do perimeter shots,” said said UNCP coach John Haskins. . “I don’t think we have a lot of good ones, but we have some really good ones.”
No. 23 Barton (11-1, 7-1 CC), meanwhile, was 5 for 8 on 3-pointers in the first quarter and 7 for 14 in the first half; it gave the Bulldogs a 21-11 lead at the end of the first quarter which they extended to 31-16, their biggest lead of the game, with 7:31 left in the half. UNCP finished the half on a 10-3 run to make it 34-26 at halftime, with four points from Gabby Smith on the run.
Barton led 41-28 with 6:41 left in the third; an 8-2 stretch in favor of the UNCP made it 43-36 with 2:56 on the clock and the Bulldogs led 49-38 in the fourth.
A 10-2 run in the fourth quarter pulled UNCP within five at 55-50 with 2:37 to go, but the Braves couldn’t make the big hit they needed to complete the comeback. Clark had two field goals and made three free throws during the run.
“A lot of people were telling me to attack and people believed in me to be in this place, and we needed buckets, so I was just trying to help the team in any way I could,” Clark said.
Gabby Smith scored 18 points with nine rebounds for UNCP and Zaria Clark scored 16 points with 11 rebounds.
“I think we did a good job getting him in, and Zaria did a good job attacking from the high post,” Haskins said. good things sometimes, but we just couldn’t get the ball in the hole.
Lauren Walker led Barton with 18 points; Shanika Peterkin had 13 points, nine rebounds and five blocks, and Akira Wiggins scored 11 points.
The Lady Braves’ game at 5 p.m. Monday at Mount Olive also looms large, as the Trojans currently hold the Carolinas lead in the Conference.