With the victory, UNC Pembroke improves to 6-1 overall. The ‘Dogs fall to 3-3 overall. The UNCP Braves return to Peach Belt Conference play Saturday, hosting Clayton State (Ga.) University at 3:30 p.m. Wingate opens its South Atlantic Conference slate Saturday, entertaining pre-season favorite Lincoln Memorial University at 4 p.m.
Sophomore guard Shahmel Brackett (Florence, S.C.) had 24 points, five assists and four rebounds for the visiting Braves. Sophomore forward George Blakeney (Tarboro, N.C.) had 20 points and six rebounds, while junior wing Cody Hughes (Rockledge, Fla.) netted 18 points off the UNCP bench. Sophomore guard K.J. Cooper (Enfield, N.C.) posted 14 points and dished out seven assists.
For the Bulldogs, sophomore guard Paidrick Matilus (Boynton Beach, Fla.) had 14 points and seven rebounds. Classmate Chase Smith (Upper Marlboro, Md.) scored 13 points, while freshman forward Robert Carpenter (Fayetteville, N.C.) posted a career-high 11 points off the Wingate bench.
Brackett had eight points and two three-pointers in the opening 22-2 flurry. Four free throws by Hughes at the 15:53 mark completed the run. Hughes hit four-of-four triples in the first stanza en route to a 16-point first half.
Cooper nailed a three-point field goal at the 8:07 mark to give the Braves a 38-13 lead, their largest of the first half. Wingate chipped away at the deficit, cutting the margin to 50-34 on a Smith trifecta with seven seconds remaining in the opening frame. UNC Pembroke took the 16-point bulge to the halftime locker room.
A Matilus three-pointer and a jumper by redshirt freshman forward Mike Tankersley (Hampton, Ga.) cut the Bulldogs’ shortfall to 50-39 with 17:45 to play. Wingate would get no closer the rest of the way. After a 65.4 percent shooting performance in the first half (17-of-26), the Braves hit 53.3 percent of their second half attempts (16-of-30). On the evening, UNC Pembroke shot 58.9 percent from the field (33-of-56). Coach Ben Miller’s charges hit 10-of-14 triples Tuesday (71.4 percent).
UNC Pembroke turned 20 Wingate turnovers into 38 points. The UNCP Braves also committed 20 miscues, but the Bulldogs could manage only 17 points on the other end. Thanks to the 6-9, 270 pound Blakeney, UNC Pembroke outscored Wingate 44-26 in the paint.
Wingate hit 39.1 percent from the floor (25-of-64). After a rough first half, the Bulldogs converted 46.4 percent of their second-half tries (13-of-28). Matilus and his seven boards topped the Wingate rebounding charts. Tankersley and junior guard Jaime Vaughn (Tallahassee, Fla.) grabbed five rebounds each for the Bulldogs.