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Rebounding success fuels UNCP men in season-opening win

Staff report

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MAYAGUEZ, Puerto Rico — The University of North Carolina at Pembroke basketball team dominated the glass in an 82-78 win over Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras in the first day of the Mayaguez Basketball Classic on Thursday.


Brandon Winford, Quamain Rose, Jihad Wright and Ben Jacobs all logged double-doubles to start the regular season.


Each player with a double-double notched 10 rebounds, with Rose and Bradley claiming five assists each and Griffin Pittman capturing five steals as well. UNCP held UPR-Rio Piedras to just 26 rebounds as the Braves claimed 24 points off second-chance shots and 30 points from players coming off the bench.


Winford collected a team-best 15 points on 5-for-9 shooting from the field, while Alex Bradley and Rose knocked in 12 points, Wright had 11 and Jacobs added 10.


“It was a great experience for our guys with the long day of travel yesterday and the challenges that go with games like this,” UNCP coach Ben Miller said. “I give the other team a lot of credit because they are scrappy, aggressive on defense and energized. Our guys had to fight to hold off the defensive pressure and we handled it with balanced scoring and being calm while under the full court press. It was a great first test for our guys and I’m glad we could have this experience.”


UPR-Rio Piedras was led by Hector Maldonado with a game-high 30 points as he was 13-for-28 from the field, while Bryan Martinez registered 20 points with five 3-pointers and Enrique Trenche put up 10 points to help the team to shoot 44.9 percent from the field.


The Braves shot better than 43 percent from the field and out-rebounded their opponent by 61-26.


The Braves controlled a 39-35 lead at the half despite a late 7-2 run by UPR-Rio Piedras, but UNCP controlled the lead for the remainder of the game including a 9-5 run in the final minute of the game. The Black and Gold held an 11-point lead with 6:53 left to play in the game and finished with the four-point victory.


The Braves will be back in action on tonight when they take on tournament host Puerto Rico-Mayaguez in a 6:30 p.m. contest in the Rafael A. Mangual Colosseum.


UNCP volleyball wins 3rd straight


ETTRICK, Va. — The UNCP volleyball team rolled to its third-straight victory last night after a straight-set sweep of Virginia State.


The Braves won 25-15, 25-22, 25-18.


“Our serving and defense helped us to come out on top tonight. We are proud of the way the girls played tonight considering they played two back-to-back matches coming straight off the bus,” said UNCP coach Angie Byrd.


UNCP (14-17) played with a dominating intensity through all three sets, never allowing the Trojans to take the lead. The Lady Braves used a red-hot serving game, collecting eight aces throughout the match.


The Lady Braves were paced by Sarah Bower who totaled eight kills, while Sabrina Gonzalez added another seven kills to the UNCP attack. Keeping the hitters active, Shekinah-Joy Toloumu had 26 assists. Defensively, Danielle Brown and Gonzalez led the way with 24 digs and 11 digs, respectfully.


Aubree Parker turned in a double-double for Virginia State (15-9), finishing with 12 kills and 17 digs. At the net Brianna Small tallied four blocks in the Trojans’ losing effort, including three solo blocks.

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