Following a seven-game Western swing against tough Division I competition, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff men's basketball team was greeted back to the state with a stiff challenge from a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics program.
Five UAPB players reached double figures, and the Golden Lions fought off a second-half surge by Arkansas Baptist College to take a 75-70 victory Monday before 1,483 at H.O. Clemmons Arena, giving Solomon Bozeman his first win as the Lions' head coach.
UAPB (1-7) led by as much as 34-22 and held onto a 36-29 halftime advantage. The Buffaloes (0-5) kept inching closer as the Lions tried to pull away in the second half, finally catching up to them at the 7:13 mark of the second half on a 3-point basket by Patrick Greene to take a 58-57 lead.
A 60-58 Buffs lead quickly turned into a 69-63 Lions advantage as Shawn Williams and Trey Sampson knocked down key 3-point baskets – Sampson's shot was part of a 4-point play. UAPB made 4 of 4 free throws in the final minute to stave off another Buffaloes charge.
Sampson scored 21 points, Brahm Harris 16, Kylen Milton 13, Brandon Brown 12 and Williams 10 for the Lions, who made 24 of 57 shots from the field (42.1%), including 10 of 27 from the arc, and 17 of 24 free throws (70.8%). Brown also pulled down 12 rebounds for his third double-double and fourth 10-plus rebound game of the season.
UAPB returns to action tonight to face Iowa State University in Ames. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. on ESPN+.
UAPB 96, ARKANSAS BAPTIST 27
At UAPB, the Lady Lions (3-3) steamrolled to their third straight victory over a thin Lady Buffaloes lineup.
Khadijah Brown shot 7 for 7 from the floor to finish with 14 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for the Lady Lions, who played at home for the first time since the Nov. 9 season-opening loss to McNeese State University. Brown recorded her third double-double of the season and fourth 10-plus rebound game this season.
Bryana Langford also scored 14 points and totaled 6 rebounds, Zaay Green scored 11, Maya Peat set season highs of 10 points and 9 rebounds, and Sade Hudson scored 9 points for UAPB, which shot 41 for 82 from the floor (50%). The Lady Lions made 6 of 20 from the arc and made 8 of 11 free throws.
Arkansas Baptist, which used only seven players, was 11 for 53 from the field (20.8%) and 3 of 13 from the perimeter.
Anna Kassim played all 40 minutes for Baptist, scoring 10 points.
The Lady Lions will play their next two games at the University of Miami tournament in Coral Gables, Fla. They will take on Tulane University at 4:30 p.m. Central Friday and Miami at 1 p.m. Saturday. Those games will not be streamed or televised locally.