Free throws help Florida Southern by Braves men's basketball

Nov. 6—LAKELAND, Fla. — No. 8 UNC Pembroke men's basketball team scored 30 points in the paint and picked up 23 point from its bench, but Florida Southern went 27-for-31 from the free throw line to help the Mocassins to a 87-82 victory over the Braves on Sunday evening at the Small College Hall of Fame Classic.

The Braves (1-1) finished with five players in double-figure scoring and tied for third in Small College Hall of Fame Classic history for assists in two days. The Moccasins (2-0) scored 32 points in the paint and also picked up 19 second chance points during Sunday's victory.

Javonte Waverly tied the score at 13 apiece with a trey from the corner just four minutes into the contest. Florida Southern took a 30-22 lead with a jumper in the paint from Jordan Booth with 5:45 remaining in the half. The Braves shot 48.2-percent from the field and closed out the half on an 18-9 run to hold a slight 40-39 lead as the teams headed into the locker rooms.

Florida Southern scored the first eight points of the half to lead 47-40 just 2 1/2 minutes into the action. Back-to-back 3-pointers from Jamarvious Jones cut the UNCP deficit back to 53-52 with 13:38 remaining in regulation. A Waverly three followed by a layup from Josh Berenbaum put the Braves back out in front, 57-55, but the Moccasins would eventually take a six point lead, 72-66 with just under seven minutes left on the clock. Elijah Cobb made a pair of free throws with four seconds remaining to chip away at the deficit and get the Braves within three points, but Florida Southern made good on 17-of-18 free throw attempts during the second half.

Nygell Verdier finished with a team-best 21 points off of a 9-for-13 shooting performance. Verdier was 3-for-4 from the perimeter and added five assists and two steals.

Cobb added 17 points highlighted by a perfected 3-for-3 from the 3-point line. The redshirt junior pulled down five rebounds and had a pair of assists and blocks.

Jones came off of the bench and scored 16 points. The senior pulled down five rebounds and dished out a trio of assists.

UNC Pembroke finished the two-day tournament with 35 assists. The 35 assists ranks tied for third in most combined assists for the two-day tournament in the Small College Hall of Fame Classic history.

The Braves were 9-for-14 from the free throw line, while the Moccasins were 27-for-31 from the charity stripe.

JaJuan Carr was named to the Small College Hall of Fame Classic all-tournament team.

The Black & Gold nearly matched a team record with 13 made 3-pointers.

The Braves will be back in action on Friday when they travel to Harrogate, Tennessee to face Lincoln Memorial. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. at Turner Arena.