PEMBROKE – The 18th-ranked UNC Pembroke men's basketball team shot 25-of-31 from the free throw line and used a late 9-2 run to pull away for good as the second-seeded Braves topped third-seeded Georgia Southwestern, 88-83, on Sunday afternoon in the quarterfinal round of the 2015 Peach Belt Conference Tournament presented by Jani-King.
The victory for the Braves (25-4), coupled with a Young Harris upset of top-seeded GRU Augusta on Saturday evening, means UNC Pembroke will play host to the 2015 PBC Championships on Saturday and Sunday in the English E. Jones Center. The event will feature both the semifinals and championship games for both the women and men.
UNCP improved to 8-17 all-time in PBC Tournament action, including a 3-0 mark against Georgia Southwestern (15-12). The Hurricanes had captured seven of their last nine contests heading into Sunday.
Quamain Rose matched a game-high with 21 points and added seven assists to pace the Braves, who also got double-digit scoring from four other players as well. Ben Jacobs came off the bench to register 14 points, while frontcourt mate Brandon Winford added a dozen of his own. Griffin Pittman tallied nine of his 10 points from the free throw line, while Cody Hughes added a season-best 10 points and five boards.
Darius Redding registered 21 points and eight rebounds to lead the Hurricanes, while Kevin Burnell came off the bench to post 20.UNCP led by as many as seven points, 82-75, after Pittman canned the front end of a two-shot foul with 1:13 left to play, but Georgia Southwestern scored points on their next three possessions and climbed to within three, 86-83, after Redding nailed a perimeter shot with 10 ticks left. Pittman's hit a pair of free throws five seconds later to put the game away.
Neither team was able to find any kind of separation in a high-octane first half that saw both teams can six 3-pointers and shoot 50 percent or better from the field. Georgia Southwestern, twice, led by four points but, UNCP was able to regain the lead on both occasions and scored four of the period's final five points to take a 43-41 advantage into the locker rooms.
Pairings for the 2015 PBC Championships for both the men and the women will be announced on Monday afternoon. The Braves are slated to face PBC Regular Season Champion Montevallo in Saturday's semifinals with a time to be announced.