The UNCP men’s basketball team hit the road and headed down I-95 to take on the Jaguars of Augusta University at the Christenberry Fieldhouse on Feb. 7 in Augusta, Georgia.
The 95-81 road victory over a hot Jaguars team, fueled by a career night from redshirt senior Nigel Grant resulted in head coach Ben Miller notching his 169th record-tying win at the helm of the program, and it tightened the team’s stranglehold on the Peach Belt Conference title lead.
This triumph tied Miller with the program’s legendary coach Lacey Gane for the most all time wins in just his 11th season in charge of the program. In his first 10 seasons as the coach from 1965-75, Gane also recorded 169 victories. Once again, senior Nigel Grant set another career-high with 31 points on the night, 22 of which he accumulated in the first half alone.
Redshirt senior Nigel Grant continues to have a stellar season. Photo by Joshua Reed
Grant has continued to have phenomenal first halves all season as he shot 14-19 from the field, perimeter and free throw line before halftime. He finished the night with a 67-percent shooting percentage from the field and recorded his 11th career double-double and e
ight of the season by leading the team with 10 total rebounds on the night.
The Braves had five players reach double digit points in this contest, including another impressive showing from freshman Tyrell Kirk who tallied the second most points on the team with 18 and set a new career high by leading the team with nine assists on the night.
Senior Brandon Watts inched even closer to the top five all time scoring lists with his 15 points, and junior James Murray-Boyles came off the bench to put up a dozen. The Jaguars jumped out to an early 18-9 lead after connecting on their first eight shots in the opening minutes of the contest, but would trail the Braves 45-39 going into the intermission following a Grant lead-scoring run just before half.
The home team would cut into the Black and Gold’s early second half lead to bring the contest to within a single bucket, but the Braves would answer with a 9-2 scoring run to take the commanding lead the rest of the way.
The Black and Gold were a remarkable 61.3 percent shooting from the field in the second half, which included going 4-8 from long range. The team led by as many as 16 points at one point after halftime.
With this victory, the Braves have now won seven straight games in the state of Georgia and earned their third win at the Christenberry Fieldhouse, as well as improved their conference record to 14-2 and their overall record to 18-4.
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