Braves Dunk Saints For PBC Tournament Berth
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Double-doubles by sophomores Shahmel Brackett and George Blakeney provided the fuel for the UNCP men's basketball squad to earn their first Peach Belt Conference Tournament berth under head coach Ben Miller with a 77-55 victory over Flagler on Saturday afternoon in St. Augustine, Fla.
The Braves (16-10, 9-9 PBC) tied the 1999-00 squad for the most wins during the regular season since joining the NCAA Division II ranks during the 1992-93 season with the victory, and they earned their first postseason game since 2007-08. With Francis Marion's victory over Armstrong Atlantic on Saturday the Braves clinched the third seed in the tournament.
The Braves used a sizeable 36-24 points in the paint advantage while also having their bench notch 20 points compared to 10 by the host Saints (10-16, 4-14 PBC). Staunch UNCP defense held Flagler to 26.1 percent shooting in the first half and 35.1 percent shooting during the game's entirety.
A 3-point basket by junior Marcus Heath gave the Braves their first lead of the game with 18:32 remaining in the first half and the squad never looked back in cruising to the 22-point victory.
Brackett led the team with a 19-point, 10-rebound double-double on 7-of-10 shooting from the floor, including a 3-of-5 effort from downtown. Blakeney garnered a game-high 12 rebounds while adding 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field.
Senior Chris Hargrove added 10 points on 4-of-13 shooting to round out the Braves in double figures.
UNCP will travel to Aiken, S.C. for a matchup with second-seeded USC Aiken on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m.