UNC Pembroke led wire to wire as four Braves reached double figures on the strength of 46 percent shooting from the field to earn a 72-51 victory this afternoon inside the Wheeler Center. UNC Pembroke snaps a two game losing streak as it improves to 5-5, while the Crusaders drop to 4-6. Today was the final non-conference game for the Crusaders as the final 18 games will all be inside Conference Carolinas play.
Today was the first game in 11 days for both teams. Today's meeting was the first between the two schools since the 1991-92 season. The Braves win, the third-straight over the Crusaders, gives them a 5-4 all-time lead in the series.
The Braves never trailed and led by as many as 21 points as they built a 27-13 lead after the first quarter behind a torrid shooting effort, converting 11 of 19 from the field (57.9 percent). UNC Pembroke opened the game on a 10-2 run. Belmont Abbey fired back with a 7-0 spurt to close the lead to one at 10-9, but the Braves closed the period on a 17-4 run to lead 27-13 after one.
Belmont Abbey found its offense in the second quarter, outscoring the Braves 15-11 as the Crusaders made six of 11 shots, while UNC Pembroke cooled to a 31 percent effort (5-16), but the visitors held its lead by double digits as the Braves carried a 38-23 lead into halftime.
UNC Pembroke pulled away in the third, outscoring Belmont Abbey 18-9 as it made nine of 16 from the field, while the Crusaders converted four of 12. The Braves held its double digit lead for the remainder of the contest, rising to as high as 21 points with 20 seconds left in the contest, which were the final points of the game.
Belmont Abbey shot 38 percent (21-54) from the floor but made just 4-16 from three point range and 5-10 from the line. Alex Busch led the way with 19 points on 9-12 shooting. She added seven rebounds and two assists. Gabrielle Bethel notched a double double with ten points and ten rebounds, while Briana Grier handed out ten assists to go along with five rebounds and two steals.
The Crusaders are back in action Tuesday as they go on the road to face Southern Wesleyan. Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m.