PBC Tournament: UNC Pembroke Topples Francis Marion, Advances To PBC Championship Game

PBC Tournament: UNC Pembroke Topples Francis Marion, Advances To PBC Championship Game

MORROW, Ga. – Second-seeded and 24th-ranked UNC Pembroke men's basketball team shot a season-best 58 percent from the field and used a 17-5 run midway through the second half to fuel a 94-75 victory over third-seeded Francis Marion in the semifinal round of the Peach Belt Conference Tournament on Saturday evening.
 
The win vaults the Braves (25-5) into the championship game of the league tournament for the second-straight season, while also giving the Black & Gold its fifth-straight win in the league's postseason gala. It was just the third setback in the last 13 outings for Francis Marion (20-9) who will likely join the Braves at next weekend's NCAA Southeast Regional.
 
Akia Pruitt scored a game-high 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting to pace the Braves, and complemented his scoring output with seven rebounds and two blocks as well. Freshman Tyrell Kirk added 19 points for the Black & Gold, whle Nigel Grant turned in 16.
 
Ryan Davis scored 19 points and Brandon Parker added 18 to lead the Patriots, while PBC Player of the Year Detrek Browning was limited to just 11 points – his lowest point total in 36 games.
 
The Braves shot 60 percent from the field in the second half, but the Patriots were still within a pair of possessions 3-1/2 minutes into the second stanza. However, Pruitt's follow-up dunk off of a miss by Brandon Watts at the 15:59 mark signaled a 17-2 run for the Black & Gold over the next four minutes that eventually gave it a commanding 62-44 lead with 12 minutes to play.
 
The game featured five tie scores in the first eight minutes of the second half, but Micah Kinsey's fastbreak layup after a steal by Kirk at the 6:59 mark sparked a 12-2 run for the Braves that gave them the lead for good. The Black & Gold eventually carried a 37-32 advantage into the locker rooms.
 
The Black & Gold will tangle with top-seeded and 25th-ranked Clayton State (23-5) in Sunday's PBC Tournament championship game at CSU's The Loch. The Lakers, who will ride a 14-game win streak into the contest, downed fifth-seeded USC Aiken, 73-70, in the early semifinal game on Saturday.