Full Weekend Of Basketball On Tap At UNCP Holiday Classic
PEMBROKE – The UNCP men's basketball team will open up its regular season on Friday and Saturday when it plays host to Coker, Francis Marion and St. Andrews in the latest installment of the UNCP Holiday Classic on Friday and Saturday at the Jones Center in Pembroke.
There will be four games played over the course of the two days, with UNCP hosting St. Andrews at 6 p.m. on Friday evening and Coker taking on Francis Marion at 8 p.m. On Saturday, UNCP and Coker will start the day's games at 4 p.m. before Francis Marion and St. Andrews close out the festivities in Saturday's nightcap beginning at 6 p.m.
UNCP will get it's much-anticipated 2011-12 regular season under way during the weekend after being picked to finish second in the Peach Belt Conference by the league's head coaches prior to the start of the season. UNCP posted a 0-2 record during exhibition play, with losses coming to top-ranked North Carolina by a 100-58 score on October 28 in Chapel Hill before falling to Athletes in Action on November 3 by a 100-82 final in Pembroke.
The Braves went 2-0 against their same opponents last season at the Zaxby's Tip-off Clazzic (hosted by Francis Marion) with a 85-68 victory over St. Andrews in the first game and a 72-65 win over Coker in the second. They advanced all the way to the PBC Tournament Championship game as well as the NCAA Tournament – both firsts for the program.
Junior guard Shahmel Brackett was named Preseason All-PBC as well as a SportingNews Preseason Honorable Mention All-American, and UNCP as a squad returns four starters and nine letterwinners from last year's 18-12 (9-9 PBC) squad.
St. Andrews – UNCP's opponent on Friday – also went 0-2 during the exhibition season with an 80-69 loss to UNC Wilmington on October 29 and a 107-70 loss to Winthrop. The Knights went 13-14 last season and finished sixth in the Conference Carolinas standings with a 9-9 record. They return 12 letterwinners from last year's squad. UNCP is 45-17 in the all-time series against the Knights.
St. Andrews Men's Basketball Website
Coker – UNCP's opponent on Saturday – was picked to finish seventh in the Conference Carolina's Preseason Poll. The Cobras sport just two seniors on their roster and they have seven newcomers as they enter the 2011-12 season. Coker earned a 68-65 victory over Team Life Sports in its only exhibition matchup of the season. UNCP looks to even out the all-time series record as Coker currently leads the series 11-10.
Coker Men's Basketball Website
The Patriots enter the season with three starters returning off last season's 16-11 squad that finished tied for third in the PBC's East Division with UNCP. The team also has 12 new faces on its roster with the most notable returning being Liki Turner, who joined UNCP's Shahmel Brackett on both the honorable mention All-American list as named by the Sporting News and a pre-season All-PBC squads.
UNCP will not play Francis Marion during the weekend, but the Patriots hold a 43-11 all-time advantage in the series vs. Coker and a 16-8 lead in the all-time series vs. St. Andrews.
Francis Marion Basketball Website