Basketball Teams Host Montevallo Saturday
PEMBROKE – The UNCP men's and women's basketball teams will continue their January home stand on Saturday when the Braves and Lady Braves welcome Montevallo to Pembroke for a 1:30 p.m. doubleheader in the English E. Jones Center.
Admission prices are $5 for adults and $2 for children 18 years of age and younger. UNCP students are admitted free with a valid Braves Card.
The Lady Braves (4-8, 1-3 PBC) returned home on Thursday evening after more than three weeks since their last home game, but were unable to snap the losing streak as No. 5 Clayton State posted the 18-point victory. Despite a sluggish start for both teams, UNCP slowly allowed the visiting Lady Lakers to close out the win, 58-40.
The Black and Gold struggled to get baskets to fall as the team combined for its lowest shooting percentage of the season at 27.9 percent from the field, however, UNCP outshot the Lady Lakers at the 3-point line as UNCP shot 26.7 percent compared to 21.1 percent for Clayton State. Turnovers and rebounds posed another problem for the Lady Braves as the squad was outrebounded 38-31 and committed 23 turnovers compared to Clayton State's 21.
Courtney Bolton leads the Black and Gold with an average 12.9 points per game and has combined for a 54.4 percent field goal percentage. Senior Domonique Washington chips in 10.1 points per game, leads the team with 4.2 assists per game, 2.3 steals per game and also leads the defense with 6.4 rebounds per game.
Coming off a loss to West Alabama on December 31, Montevallo (5-6, 0-2) reenters conference action for the first time since December 6 when the squad fell 73-51 to Columbus State. The Lady Falcons are led by four players who average more than four points per game and Zena Nasiloski who averages 7.7 rebounds per game.
UNCP and Montevallo will meet for the third time on Saturday in a series completely controlled by the Lady Braves. The Black and Gold will bring a two-game winning-streak into the game with the Lady Braves last season running past the Lady Falcons with a 44 percent shooting percentage.
Winners in eight of their last nine contests, the Braves (10-4, 4-0) will tote an unbeaten league record into Saturday's outing with PBC West co-leader Montevallo (11-2, 2-0). UNCP is fresh off a 78-73 win over visiting Clayton State on Thursday in Pembroke, while the Falcons will resume action after posting a 107-51 home win over Concordia-Selma on Tuesday evening.
The Braves continue to get double-digit scoring from four different players, including preseason all-American Shahmel Brackett who climbed to 13.2 points per game with a 17-point effort against Clayton State on Thursday. Marcus Heath (12.5) and George Blakeney (12.4) have combined to register nearly 25 points an outing, while K.J. Cooper chips in 11.5 points per game off the bench. The Braves rank among the top-five conference leaders in seven statistical categories, and will carry the league's second-best field goal shooting (49.2 percent) squad into the weekend.
Montevallo leads the league with a +10.6 rebounding edge this season, while the Braves boast one of the PBC's better rebounding teams at +8.0. The Falcons rank fourth among league leaders with 80.4 points per game, but accomplish their task on the defensive side as well where they average a PBC-best 4.6 blocks per game and force more than 19 turnovers an outing. Montevallo's points are not likely to come from the perimeter, however, as the Falcons rank near the bottom of the league in 3-point shooting percentage (31.2) and 3-pointers made per game (4.9).
Binghamton transfer D.J. Rivera leads the league with 25.1 points per game thanks to a 51 percent success rate from the field. Rivera has eclipsed the 20-point plateau against 11 opponents this season, including 37 in the season opener against Mars Hill and 27 against both Georgia Southwestern and Columbus State. When the Falcons do shoot the three, their best bet is Ryan May who has connected on a team-best 45 percent (19-of-42) of his 3-point attempts while also pacing the team with 3.0 assists an outing. Jervan Jackson and Drico Hightower lead the team defensively with 15 blocks, while Hightower is the team leader in rebounding at 5.6 boards per contest.
Montevallo has proven victorious in both previous meetings with the Braves, including last season's 67-64 triumph in Pembroke. The Falcons registered a 75-57 victory in the initial series matchup on Jan. 29, 2010, in Montevallo.