Raiders Outlast Vikings
By F.W. Manning II
Special to The Pilot
The fourth quarter has not been kind to the Union Pines boys' basketball team this season.
For the second straight game, an opponent overtook the Vikings in the fourth quarter. Monday it was Richmond who rallied to take a 74-63 victory at Union Pines in a non-conference game.
Trailing 54-52 entering the fourth, Richmond reeled off a 12-2 run to begin the quarter and take the lead for good, 64-56. Brian Love capped the run with a three-pointer with 4:06 left. Love scored a game-high 26 points for the Raiders, who outscored the Vikings 22-9 in the final quarter.
"I thought we got on a good spurt for five or six minutes in the first half and really played well (to get back in the game), but you are not going to win any games of substance by just playing five or so minutes of really good ball," said Viking head coach Bobby Purvis.
Vike Brandon Brown would offer a quick answer with a three-pointer of his own to trim the lead to 64-59 at the 3:52 mark. But the Vikings got no closer as the Raiders secured the win from the foul line.
The Vikings found themselves playing from behind early. The Raiders scored 10 of the game's first 12 points to take an early lead. The Vikings answered, climbing back to force a 35-all tie at halftime thanks to Eric Smith and Chris Henderson, who combined for 23 first-half points.
In the third quarter Union Pines took its first lead in the game, when Smith kicked the ball out to Brandon Brown who buried a three-pointer from the left wing to give the Vikes a 43-41 edge with 3:50 on the clock. Brown sank two bombs and a jumper to end the quarter with eight points. A deep three pointer at the buzzer by Viking senior Will Maness, gave Union Pines a 54-52 lead after three periods of play.
Vike head coach Bobby Purvis tipped his hat to the Raiders and their clutch shooting.
"Richmond made some tough shots," Purvis said, "especially from the three-point line. So I have to give them a lot of credit for that. Wow, those were some tough shots."
Richmond connected on 10 of 15 three-pointers, and many were direct answers to big shots made by the Vikings.
In all, Purvis said his team is still strugging to find its consistency on the offensive end of the floor.
Shot selection, shooting with confidence, and being active without the ball were some of his areas of concern, along with rebounding on both ends of the floor.
"I know it's early and all those kinds of things, but at the same time we have to sustain a quality level of play longer than what we are doing now. When we were down by four or five points with less than five minutes to go in the game, I thought we got inpatient on offense, made some unnecessary turnovers and started settling for jump shots.
"So that causes me a bit of concern about our inconsistent play and some bad habits we have in terms of shot selection and ball control late in games; we have to get better at it."
Smith scored 19 to lead the Vikes to go along with six rebounds, four assists and four steals.
Jon Toomer had 13 points, five rebounds, three assists and two blocks. Brown also had 13 points. Henderson finished the night with 12 points, seven rebounds and two blocks.
Joining Love in double figures for the Raiders was Jide Reddick, who had 12 pts and eight rebounds, Markus Diggs with eleven points. Postman Harold Sellers had a solid night with eight points, six assists and four steals.
The Vikings are now 1-2 on the season. They played their cross-county rival Mustangs Tuesday in North Moore. Richmond opened the season
1-0 with the win. Union Pines plays host to Pinecrest on Friday in a rematch of this year's Pilot Cup Championship game, won by the Patriots.
F.W. Manning II can be reached at email@example.com or by cell at 639-5481
RC 17 18 17 22 -- 74
UP 12 23 19 9 -- 63
RC: B. Love 3 (5-6) 26; M. Diggs 3 (2-2) 11; C. Snead 2 (0-0) 4; J. Bright 1 (0-0) 8; H. Sellers 1 (0-1) 8; R. Douglas 1 (0-0) 2; W. Freeman 1 (1-2) 3; J. Reddick 6 (0-0) 12. Totals 18 (8-11) 74.
UP: J. Marshall 0 (1-3) 1; W. Maness 1 (0-0) 5; E. Smith 5 (3-4) 19; J. Toomer 5 (3-4) 13; B. Brown 2 (0-0) 13; C. Henderson 6 (0-0) 12. Totals 19 (7-11) 63.
Three-point goals: RC 10 (Love 5, Diggs, Bright 2, Sellers 2) ; UP 5 (Maness, Smith 2, Brown 3)
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