The University of North Carolina at Pembroke built a 23-point lead at 51-28 with 7:26 left in the game, but only scored five of the next 23 points the rest of the way to hold on for a 56-46 victory over Chowan Wednesday night at the English E. Jones Center. The Braves open the PBC schedule on the road Saturday afternoon against No. 11 Clayton State.
"I thought in the first half we did a good job defensively," Haskins said. "But in the last five minutes, I am really disappointed. There are no excuses to blow a 20-point lead."
The Braves (4-3) connected on 47.2 percent of their shots and out-rebounded Chowan 42-30, but struggled in other aspects. UNCP only connected on 3-of-14 from behind the 3-point line and hit just 3-of-7 at the free-throw line. The lone bright spot for the Braves was junior JaToya Kemp, who scored a game-high 19 points and pulled down 13 rebounds in the game.
"My teammates were really looking to get me the ball," Kemp said. "The competition we have been playing against so far is nothing like anything we will see in the Peach Belt. I know they picked us to finish eighth or ninth, but we will just have to go and prove ourselves."
Haskins applauded the effort of Kemp as well as Casey Siddens, who added nine points off the Brave bench.
"I thought JaToya had a nice game and Casey came off the bench and acted aggressive offensively and was able to get us some points," Haskins said.
In the first half, the Braves used a 1-2-2 zone defense which seemed to confuse Chowan to build a 27-19 halftime lead.
"We have struggled against good zones this year," Chowan coach Patrick Mashuda said. "I thought we settled for too many 3-pointers in the first half."
Talaya Lynch scored 11 points for the Hawks (2-4), who were playing their third game in five nights.