Cardinals best Braves in exhibition play
By Curtis Brooks
November 8, 2012
|Photo by Jonathan Bym
|Black and Gold senior Shahmel Brackett takes a jump shot earlier in the season. Brackett scored 20 points agaisnt Stanford on Nov. 4.
The men's basketball team traveled nearly 3,000 miles across the country to take on Division I foe Stanford on Nov.4 at Maples Pavilion, in exhibition play.
The Cardinals, from the Pac-12 Conference, were able to hold off a late Braves' run to secure an 85-71 victory in the Black and Gold's first road test of the 2012-2013 campaign.
Stanford won the 2011-2012 NIT Championship and finished last season with a 26-11 record.
A series of first half turnovers doomed the visitors as they surrendered seven more turnovers than their counterparts in the opening half.
Despite the turnover problem, the Black and Gold were able to stick with the Cardinals going into halftime down 38-31.
In the second half, the visitors were down as much as 12 points on two separate occasions but were able to size down the Cardinals leads both times, in large part due to senior guard Shahmel Brackett's scoring.
With just over three minutes remaining in the game, a dunk by sophomore Reggie Cobia brought the Braves within six points, but the Cardinals were able to pull away as they knocked down key free throws down the stretch.
In a closely contested matchup, both squads were relatively even on the glass as the Cardinals' much bigger front line outrebounded the Braves 44 to 42; both sides also shot 42 percent from the floor.
The Braves finished the game with 17 turnovers compared to just 10 assists and allowed the host to score 15 points off turnovers and 14 points on second chance opportunities.
"Overall, I thought we took a step in the right direction with our defensive effort," UNCP head coach Ben Miller said.
"The rebounding was better, except for a 5-minute stretch in the second half where they got some second chance points. We had some turnovers and those, combined with their second chance points, were the difference in the game," Miller added.
Junior Aaron Bright led the Cardinals with a game-high 21 points while backcourt mate Chasson Randle scored 16 points on 7-of-15 shooting.
Forward Josh Huestis recorded a double-double for Stanford as he scored 16 points and grabbed a dozen rebounds.
Brackett led the Black and Gold with 20 points and also snagged six rebounds.
Senior George Blakeney and freshman Quamain Rose also scored in double-digits for the Braves tallying 16 and 11 points, respectively.
Blakeney also grabbed a team-high seven rebounds in a losing effort.