Patriots fall to Braves in late-scoring run


Photo by: Cullen Dore

Junior guard Matthew Lee looks for an opening.

In a 12-0 run in the last three minutes of the game, the University of Charlotte at Pembroke (UNCP) Braves emerged victorious over the FMU Patriots 76-66 during the basketball game at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 26, in the Smith University Center (UC).  

Though the ending was bittersweet, FMU came out strong and fought hard until the end.   

With eight tied scores and six lead changes, the game was close. Junior guard and computer science major Tionne Rollins helped significantly in the close score with his career-high 26 points.   

“Heading into the game, the energy was pretty good coming off of a successful road trip,” Rollins said. “We knew that if we just showed up ready to go and played hard like we have before then everything would be alright for us.”  

Though the game might not have turned out quite like they expected, statistically, the Patriots’ performance was successful.   

After Rollins’ 26 points, freshman guard and business major Jose Benitez tied his career-high total with 14 points and gave five assists. Freshman center and nursing major Jonah Pierce tallied up nine rebounds and two blocks. Freshman forward and business major Nick Silva racked up eight points.   

“I feel that this was a good game for us despite the loss,” Rollins said. “We know that we can compete against any team that we’re up against. We are starting to learn to play together now, and I’m proud of my team.”  

The Patriots played hard against the Braves. FMU pushed their lead to 11 points in the first half and kept a lead of eight points until the second. In the second half, the Braves started heating up and decreased the point gap.   

A single jump shot with just under four minutes to go turned the tide in favor of the Braves by one point, but that momentum shift would lead them to a swift 10-point victory in the end.   

The Patriots were understandably disappointed, but they are not ready to throw in the towel just yet.   

“This game showed how much fight and potential our team possesses,” Rollins said. “We will build upon this going forward as we look to make a statement and become one of the stronger teams in our conference.”  

With 10 games left, give or take a few rescheduled games due to COVID-19, the Patriots are already looking past the tough defeat toward a victorious future.   

“I think we just need to do what we did in our first match against Erskine, and basically do what we did tonight,” said head coach Gary Edwards in an interview with FMU Sports.  

The upcoming match-ups for the Patriots will occur against Erskine at 4 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 29; Southern Wesleyan University at 4 p.m., Monday, Jan. 31; and Lees-Mcrae at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 4, all in the Smith University Center. Fans can also watch the Patriots vie for their spot through live streams on the Conference Carolinas website.