Nov. 21, 2013
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. - UNC Pembroke men's basketball coach Ben Miller didn't shy away from heaping praise on an opponent. The Braves' coach approached Fayetteville State senior Tyrrel Tate after his 30-point performance and told him that he's one of the best players Miller's ever had to coach against.
Unfortunately for Tate and his teammates, those 30 points weren't enough to overcome a UNC Pembroke offense that was just a little bit hotter. The Braves outlasted one final Broncos rally, giving FSU a 97-91 home loss at Felton J. Capel Arena on Thursday night.
"You have to give credit to UNC Pembroke," Broncos coach Alphonza Kee said. "They're not (6-0) by accident.
"They got some offensive rebounds and set the tone. And that set the tone and we just couldn't get back in it."
FSU scored the game's first seven points on a tip-in by Louis Craft and a layup and 3-point basket from Tate. A pair of Tate foul shots soon after made it 9-2.
Unfortunately for the Broncos, UNC Pembroke awoke from that slow start. The Braves went on an 8-0 run immediately after Tate's foul shots to seize a 10-9 lead. UNCP was aided throughout the first half by an ability to get second-chance opportunities. The Braves finished with 12 offensive rebounds in the first half, outscored FSU 13-2 on second-points and had a 26-19 edge in total rebounding for the first 20 minutes.
To the Broncos' credit, FSU controlled the glass in the second 20 minutes. They outboarded UNCP 23-19 in the second period and surrendered just eight offensive rebounds.
FSU retook the lead in the first on an Anthony Shelton 3-point basket. After the Braves' Alex Bradley hit one of six 3s to retake the lead, FSU went on a 7-0 run on a Torian Showers layup, a Shelton 3-pointer and a Joshua Dawson jumper.
UNCP scored the next five points on a Keysheen Hinton 3-pointer and a Hinton dunk. Dawson hit a free throw, but Hinton followed with a jumper to tie the score at 20. The Braves scored nine of the next 11 points to build a 29-22 advantage.
FSU trailed 40-30 at the half.
The Broncos opened up the second period with a Louis Craft dunk. But UNCP followed that play with a 9-2 run to open up a 15-point gap. It got to 17 at 10:54 to go when the Broncos made a bit of a run. Showers hit a 3, then Travis Marcus followed with a layup. Hinton and FSU's Shelton trade free throws, then Haggie and Showers made layups to cut the deficit to 68-60 with 7:59 to go.
The Braves countered with an 8-0 run in 58 seconds on five made free throws and a Bradley 3-pointer.
"Once you dig yourself a hole coming down the stretch, every possession is always super critical when you're coming from behind," Kee said. "That put us back. The one thing is we continued to fight and we will fight. We can play, it's just a matter of doing the small things. There's no doubt in my mind this team will do that."
The gap was 90-76 with 3:50 to go when FSU made one last run. Shelton hit a free throw, Tate drilled a 3 and Paul Lane hit a jumper to draw the Broncos within eight at the 2:42 mark. Griffin Pittman made a jumper to stretch the lead back out to 10, but Tate hit another 3-pointer to cut it to seven. With 1:16 to go, Dawson hit a free throw to cut it to 92-86. Fifteen seconds later, another Dawson foul shot made it a five-point game. Pittman hit a free throw with 53 seconds left, then Tate made a pair of free throws to make it 93-89 with 23 seconds left.
The Braves then missed a layup, but got the ball back on a turnover and later hit four free throws to ice the game.
The Broncos are on the road against Virginia-Lynchburg on Nov. 26.
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