PEMBROKE, N.C. – The Lander men's basketball team put together a valiant rally on the road against UNC Pembroke, scoring 31 of the final 46 points, but could not overcome a 17-point halftime deficit in an 87-77 loss to the Braves on Tuesday night.
Lander (7-13, 3-11 PBC) was led by 16 points from Rahu Purdie, 14 of which came in the second half. Srdjan Ivic posted 11 points, 12 rebounds and a career-high six assists. Sidney Robinson scored 13 points, while Jordan Dingle recorded 11 points. UNCP (16-4, 12-2 PBC) finished with six different players in double-figures.
After a Nicklas Jonsson three-pointer pulled Lander to within a basket with 10:25 left in the first half, UNC Pembroke used a 26-13 run over the next 7:03 to build a 19-point lead. Dingle closed the half with five points as the Braves took a 55-38 lead into intermission.
After Lander opened the second half with a Dingle layup, UNCP embarked on a 13-2 run to push the lead to 26 points, the largest of the night. The Bearcats trailed 72-46 with 12:06 left to play when the offense roared to life. Following an Ivic layup, Purdie ripped off nine consecutive points to cut the deficit to 72-57 at the 8:11 mark. UNC Pembroke stretched the lead back to 78-57 with just 6:33 remaining, but the Bearcats rallied again, putting together a 9-2 run capped off by a tip-in from Sergio Smith to make the score 80-66 with 4:29 to go.
Lander made one final push in the closing minutes behind nine points in less than three minutes from Robinson, but could not cut the deficit lower than nine as the Braves held on for the victory.