Nov. 16, 2009
PEMBROKE - In August, The University of North Carolina at Pembroke's football team dealt Fayetteville State a heartbreaking, season-opening home loss.
On Monday, the Broncos men's basketball team returned the favor.
Jamel Carpenter scored a game-high 30 points and led FSU and first-year head coach Alphonza Kee to a 100-92 win over the Braves at the English E. Jones Center.
"At the end of the day, all the months we've been working out showed at the end," Carpenter said. "I knew the atmosphere was going to be crazy."
Kee's team jumped out to a 14-7 lead, led by as much 16 in the second half, never relinquished the lead and didn't allow UNCP to get closer than three points.
"I know the final chapter in this book and you have to believe that," said Kee. "Winning is a by-product of all the work in. Your confidence comes from hard work."
The Broncos were without preseason All-CIAA selection Ariel Robinson, making Jarrick Jones the only player who had started a game at FSU.
"I didn't think we could put up 100 points without Ariel," Carpenter said. "Our freshman really stepped up for us."
Still, Kee said his team's work ethic and togetherness in the off-season rubbed off on their play on the court.
"I knew we'd be in sync, because we're trying to build a program," he said. "A program is not one person. We started that cohesive unit in August. So now we're playing the basketball game, but the study halls, the work ethic and the weights and conditioning... I knew there would be a good group together."
FSU (1-0) grabbed 23 offensive rebounds and forced 27 UNCP (0-1) turnovers.
"Our goals were to come out and compete like we lost our minds," said Kee. "I wanted to see competition, toughness and really playing hard."
Five FSU players - Carpenter, Paul Lane
, Benjamin Davis, Savon Best
and Jones - score in double-figures.
Davis was 9-of-19 from the field for 18 points and added seven rebounds while Jones scored 16 points, had a team-high nine rebounds and dished out five assists.
Best, a freshman point guard had a team-high six assists.
"I was just trying to get the nerves out the way," he said. "We try to do what coach says. We need toughness, integrity and passion. We need all three and they were on display tonight."
FSU shot 44.6 percent from the field and made 28-of-37 free throws.
Kee and the Broncos will open CIAA play and host their first home game on Saturday when Lincoln (PA) comes to Capel Arena. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.
"You can always build," said Best. "There is always room to get better. We'll be ready."